Muslim Brotherhood claims victory as Egyptian army grabs power
Presidential election result is overshadowed by army's appropriation of sweeping new powers
THE EGYPTIAN presidential election result has been overshadowed by a "coup" mounted by the country's military. Both candidates have claimed victory and the army has announced it will hand power back to the eventual victor at the end of June.
The Muslim Brotherhood claimed today that its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, has a marginal lead over rival Ahmed Shafiq, a former general with close links to the country's military. Votes are still being counted, says the Daily Telegraph.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) has announced it is appropriating legislative and budgetary powers after a court last week dissolved the country's parliament, a move described as a "coup" by opponents.
Scaf also said it will decide who drafts Egypt's new constitution – and will not allow parliamentary elections to take place until the constitution is ready. Its "Interim Constitutional Declaration" also removes control of the armed forces from the president and guarantees Scaf jobs for life.
However, the BBC reports, a Scaf spokesman told a subsequent press conference that there would be a formal hand-over of power to the winning candidate at the end of June.
The declaration provoked outrage from opponents of Scaf – political figure Mohammed ElBaradei called it a "grave setback for democracy and revolution" while former candidate Hamdeen Sabahi dubbed it the "seizure of the future of Egypt".
The speaker of the dissolved parliament, Mohammed Saad el-Katatny, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, said he would not accept the declaration and said the current constitutional committee, which was appointed by the parliament, would continue its work, whatever the wishes of Scaf.
While Muslim Brotherhood supporters have been out in numbers celebrating their presumptive victory, there have so far been no major demonstrations protesting the Scaf "coup".
Some observers suggest Egyptians may have "protest fatigue" - and are equally cynical about both presidential candidates.