CAIRO – The Muslim Brotherhood declared early Monday that its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, won Egypt’s presidential election, which would be the first victory of an Islamist as head of state in the stunning wave of protests demanding democracy that swept the Middle East the past year.
But the military handed itself the lion’s share power over the new president, sharpening the possibility of confrontation. With parliament dissolved and martial law effectively in force, the generals issued an interim constitution granting themselves sweeping authorities that ensure their hold on the state and subordinate the president.
They will be Egypt’s lawmakers, they will control the budget and they will determine who writes the permanent constitution that will define the country’s future. But as they claimed a narrow victory over Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq in a deeply polarizing election, the Brotherhood challenged the military’s power grab.