Cairo: The Muslim Brotherhood says its candidate, Mohammed Mursi, has won Sunday`s Presidential Election.
However, the military handed itself the lion`s share power over the new president, sharpening the possibility of confrontation.
Egyptians had to choose between Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mohammed Morsi, and Hosni Mubarak`s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, a choice many describe as one between the devil and the deep sea.
With Parliament dissolved and martial law effectively in force, the generals, meanwhile, issued an interim Constitution making themselves Egypt`s lawmakers, taking control over the budget and granting themselves the power to determine who writes the permanent Constitution that will define the country`s future.
But as they claimed victory over Hosni Mubarak`s last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq after a deeply polarising election, the Brotherhood challenged the military`s power grab. The group insisted on Sunday that it did not recognise the dissolution of Parliament or the military`s interim Constitution — or its right to oversee the drafting of a new one.
That pointed to a potential struggle over spheres of authority between Egypt`s two strongest forces.
In a victory speech at his campaign headquarters, Morsi clearly sought to assuage fears of a large sector of Egyptians that the Brotherhood will try to impose stricter provisions of Islamic law. He said he seeks "stability, love and brotherhood for the Egyptian civil, national, democratic, constitutional and modern state" and made no mention of Islamic law.
"Thank God who led successfully us to this blessed revolution. Thank God who guided the people of Egypt to this correct path, the road of freedom, democracy," the bearded, 60-year-old US-educated engineer declared.
He vowed to all Egyptians, "men, women, mothers, sisters, labourers, students ... all political factions, the Muslims, the Christians" to be "a servant for all of them”.
"We are not about taking revenge or settling scores. We are all brothers of this nation, we own it together, and we are equal in rights and duties."
Final official results are due on Thursday, and the Shafiq campaign challenged the Brotherhood`s victory claim, saying it was "deceiving the people."
The rival camp of Shafiq immediately contradicted Mursi`s claims and criticised the Brotherhood for declaring premature victory.
The spokesperson for Shafiq`s campaign, Yasser Makarim, accused the Brotherhood of hijacking the results, and said around 11 percent of the votes were yet to be counted.
He even claimed that it was Shafiq who was leading 51 to 49 though the Brotherhood`s claims appeared to be closer to other unofficial tallies from local and international media.
The official results will be announced only by later this week.
The Brotherhood`s declaration was based on results announced by election officials at individual counting centres, where each campaign has representatives who compile the numbers and make them public before the formal announcement. The Brotherhood`s early, partial counts proved generally accurate in last month`s first round vote.
The group said Morsi took 51.8 percent of the vote to Shafiq`s 48.1 percent out of 24.6 million votes cast, with 98 percent of the more than 13,000 poll centres counted.
(With Agency inputs)