Morsi Victory in Egypt Is a Potent Weapon for Islamists
Egypt’s military rulers on Sunday officially recognized Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood as the winner of Egypt’s first competitive presidential election, handing the Islamists both a symbolic triumph and a potent weapon in their struggle for power against the country’s senior generals.
Mr. Morsi, 60, an American-trained engineer and a former lawmaker, now stands ready to become the first non-military figure to lead Egypt in generations. But 16 months after the military took over at the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, Mr. Morsi’s victory is an ambiguous milestone in Egypt’s promised transition to democracy.
After a week of doubts, delays and fears of a coup since a public ballot count showed Mr. Morsi ahead, the generals have showed a measure of respect for some core elements of electoral democracy — they have accepted a political opponent over their ally, former Gen. Ahmed Shafik, after a vote that international monitors said was credible.
But Mr. Morsi’s recognition as president does little to resolve the larger standoff between the generals and the Brotherhood over the institutions of government and the future constitution. Two weeks before their promised date for giving up power, June 30, the generals instead shut down the democratically elected and Islamist-led Parliament, took over its powers to make laws and set budgets, decreed an interim constitution stripping the new president of most of his power and reimposed martial law by authorizing soldiers to arrest civilians. The generals also gave themselves an effective veto over provisions of a planned permanent constitution.