Egypt To Announce Presidential Election Results

Egypt plans to announce who will be its first democratically elected president Sunday. Two men have been claiming victory since the polls closed a week or so ago. One was ousted leader Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, the other a member of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. Guest host David Greene speaks with NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene. This morning, Egyptians have their first-ever democratically elected president. Mohammed Morsi, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood candidate has been declared the winner of hotly disputed election.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHEERING)

GREENE: As the result came through, thousands of Morsi's supporters, who were packed into a sweltering Tahrir Square, broke out into sustained cheers for their successful candidate. Let's turn to Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson in Cairo for the latest. And, Soraya, we all remember all those images of revolution in Tahrir Square. It has been a long time waiting for Egyptians to get a new president announced. What is Cairo feeling like today?

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: Well, in Tahrir Square, which is packed with supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and their candidate, Mohammed Morsi - or I should say now, President Mohammed Morsi - it's obvious jubilation. But that's not necessarily the case elsewhere in town. We still have a lot of security forces out everywhere; at the airport, in front of state buildings, that sort of thing. And certainly, the supporters of Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister of Hosni Mubarak, who was defeated in this election, they are not happy. They are very concerned about an Islamist president for this country and what that will mean in terms of Egypt's future. And so, it's unlikely that this jubilation is going to continue without some sort of response.

GREENE: And I want to ask you about those concerns. I mean, we've heard so much about the Muslim Brotherhood and these fears in the West about an Islamist party ruling the Arab world's most populous country, and what this might mean for Egypt's really fragile relationship with Israel. I mean, any sense for how Morsi's going to respond to these concerns?

NELSON: Well, he's already started. In these few days that we were waiting for the results, Mohammed Morsi was trying to assure people that this was not going to be a Muslim Brotherhood cabinet, Muslim Brotherhood government, that the agenda was not going to be a Muslim Brotherhood one, but, in fact, one for all Egyptians. He's reached out to some secular people who he would like to have in his cabinet. And he resigned from the Freedom and Justice Party, which is the political branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. But the problem is that the Muslim Brotherhood, when they went into Parliament, and Freedom and Justice Party took about half the seats and basically held the dominate vote there, they did not necessarily include their civilian counterparts or others who were not part of their bloc, and in fact rammed through very important things like which committee would be drafting the constitution, that sort of thing.

So, people are very nervous. They don't trust necessarily what Mr. Morsi has to say.

GREENE: We should there are questions, as well, about how much power the new president will actually have. The military that's currently running the interim government has not seemed all that eager to give up power in recent weeks.

NELSON: Absolutely not. They have issued what they call a decree - a supplementary constitutional decree, which will give them all sorts of power including a sharing in the legislative authority, since Parliament was dissolved by a high court here in recent times. And that's one thing that they're going to do. They're also going to retain control over themselves and over important issues, like declaring war, you know, key policies.

So, there's little doubt that this fighting that's been going on between the Brotherhood and the military-led government for power will continue.

And Soraya, just briefly, I mean, is this what Egyptians expected last year when they ousted Hosni Mubarak and then we saw that revolution take place?

No, it's certainly not what the protesters, who went to Tahrir Square and who fought with the security forces were expecting, but it's something they have to contend with now.

GREENE: That's NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson in Cairo, updating us the results of the Egyptian election, a victory by the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate. Soraya, thanks so much.

NELSON: You're welcome, David.

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