Islamist Morsi declared Egypt’s new president
Hours after being declared his nation’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi vowed late Sunday to represent all Egyptians, and he urged his countrymen to put aside their differences and come together for the common good.
“This national unity is the only way to get Egypt out of this difficult crisis,” Morsi said in a nationally televised speech.
The longtime Muslim Brotherhood member paid special tribute to those “martyrs” who helped spearhead the revolution that led to the ouster of Egypt’s longtime President Hosni Mubarak and, more than a year later, to Morsi’s election.
Mohamed Morsi’s top challenges
He expressed thanks and admiration for military personnel, police officers, judges and others in the Egyptian government for their work on behalf of the nation. “I must salute them because they have a role in the future” of Egypt, Morsi said.
The president-elect also promised “we will preserve all national and international agreements,” a topic of concern in light of questions about how his election might affect Egypt’s ties with neighboring Israel. And he vowed to “protect the rights of women and children,” as well as Christians and Muslims alike.
Earlier in the day, election officials announced Morsi earned more than 13 million votes in last week’s presidential election, while Ahmed Shafik — the last prime minister to serve under Mubarak — had more than 12 million. That worked out to just under 52% of the vote for Morsi, while Shafik got just over 48%, officials said.
The announcement triggered massive cheers and celebratory gunfire in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the hub of last year’s revolution, with temperatures near 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) failing to subdue the joy felt by Morsi’s supporters. Similar rallies erupted Sunday in Alexandria as well.
“We’ve been waiting for it for 7,000 years,” said Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party. “For the first time in history, we have our own president, elected by us. The power of the people is now in the hands of the president — and the president has to go and move forward.”
Added another man celebrating in Tahrir Square, “What we are happy for is Egyptian people could overcome the remnants of the last regime.”