The crowd in Cairo's Tahrir Square reacts to the announcement of the victory of Mohamed Morsi in the Presidential run-off
To throw the election to [Ahmad] Shafiq, who clearly lost by almost a million votes, would have produced an outpouring of anger and possible violence that the military must have concluded it could not control. It did not matter, though. Declaring Shafiq the winner despite the results was wholly unnecessary due to what the military clearly believes is its ace: the June 17 constitutional declaration.
The timing of the decree, just as polls closed on the second day of the second round of elections, suggests that the military’s action was improvised. As if sometime on Sunday afternoon, one of the officers turned to another and asked with alarm, “What if Morsi wins?” It was anything but ad hoc, however.
Shortly after the fall of Mubarak, Field Marshal Tantawi asked for a translation of Turkey’s 1982 constitution, which both endows Turkish officers with wide-ranging powers to police the political arena and curtails the power of civilian leaders. In the June 17 decree, the military hedged against a Morsi victory by approximating the tutelary role the Turkish military enjoyed until recently. As a result, President Morsi does not control the budget; has no foreign policy, defense, or national security function; and has been stripped of the president’s duty as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, meaning he has no control over military personnel. In addition, having dissolved parliament in a move that has no legal basis, the SCAF now also functions as Egypt’s legislature. Finally, the military will be able to veto articles of a new constitution.
0745 GMT: Journalist Borzou Daragahi has posted the full text of President-elect Morsi's 25-minute speech last night.
0635 GMT: The BBC's flagship radio programme spends five minutes with its correspondent, Jon Leyne, focused on whether the Muslim Brotherhood will be "moderate" with Mohamed Morsi as President. There is not a single word about the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, with its expanded powers, or the suspended Parliament.
0515 GMT: On Sunday, more than 500 days after the fall of the Mubarak regime, Egyptians finally had a new President when the Electoral Commission belatedly announced that the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi had won in the run-off against Ahmad Shafiq, the last Prime Minister under Mubarak.
The news brought loud celebrations --- as well as bitterness from Shafiq supporters --- but these could not sweep away the political manoeuvres that cast uncertainty over the Presidential outcome even before the delay in last Thursday's declaration of a result. Parliament is suspended, courtesy of a Supreme Court decision earlier this month that found legislative elections were improperly organised. The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, two days before the run-off, issued a declaration expanding its powers and curbing those of the President.
Issandr El Amrani sets out the battleground:
Both the [Muslim Brotherhood] and SCAF have positioned themselves in a manner in which backing down from their respective positions on the question of parliament and the Supplemental Constitutional Declaration would be a loss of face. The Brothers might be able to leverage the elation of their victory to make it easier to swallow a bitter pill, but at the same time, now that the results have been announced publicly, they don't have to. SCAF, on the other hand, has less room for maneuver without resorting to brute force and ultimatums. (Speaking of which: today marks the first time in the last few months that the Brothers have played chicken with SCAF and won.)
The next few weeks will be interesting, and my hunch is that the Brothers are not likely to give up easily now that their man is the chief of the executive. They have relatively little wiggle room on the SCC decision — they vowed to respect the judiciary's decision, after all, and the judiciary supervising the elections, made this much easier by handing them the district-level results early. But on the new Supplementary Constitutional Declaration, on the date of the next parliamentary elections and the rest of the transition roadmap, they are on stronger ground and have the backing of many non-Islamist revolutionaries and at least some of the establishment. SCAF over-reached, methinks.