Muslim Brotherhood claims victory, army promises to give up power (Second Lead)

June 18th, 2012 - 9:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Cairo, June 18 (IANS) With all votes counted in the Egyptian presidential election and Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi claiming victory, Egypt’s ruling military council Monday vowed to hand over power to an elected president by June-end.

In a news conference, Lt. Muhammad al-Assar from the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) said a ceremony would be held in late June to hand over power to the new president, reported BBC citing Egypt’s state media Monday.

The military council had earlier issued a declaration, granting itself sweeping powers over legislation and the introduction of a new constitution.

Opposition groups condemned the declaration as a “coup”.

However, the constitutional declaration issued by the SCAF late Sunday effectively gives it legislative powers, control over the budget and over who writes the permanent constitution following mass street protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

It also strips the president of any authority over the army.

Prominent political figure Mohamed El-Baradei described the document as a “grave setback for democracy and revolution”.

Parliament speaker Saad al-Katatni, of the Muslim Brotherhood, said the declaration was “null and void”.

Two days earlier, the Supreme Constitutional Court had ruled that last year’s legislative polls were unconstitutional.

On Monday morning, soldiers prevented MPs from entering parliament.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mursi ran in Sunday’s poll against Ahmed Shafiq, who served as prime minister under former president Hosni Mubarak.

On Monday, Mursi claimed victory winning 52 percent of the votes, his campaign office said, adding that the opposing candidate, former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, got 48 percent.

If the victory of the 60-year-old Mursi was confirmed, he would become the first Egyptian president representing an Islamic party, and also the first leader of modern Egypt without a military background.

In his pre-election manifesto, Mursi promised to give up Egypt’s tradition of one-man presidential rule, and said he would name deputies, assistants and advisers representing different sectors of Egyptian society.

Mursi had won the first round of the election.

Hundreds of Mursi’s supporters gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to celebrate his declaration of victory.

But Shafiq’s campaign said it rejected “completely” Mursi’s victory claim, and that figures it had obtained showed Shafiq in the lead.

Official results from the Higher Presidential Election Commission (HPEC) will be announced Thursday, state TV reported.

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