Cairo: Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians at the iconic Tahrir Square erupted in cheers as after the nation’s election commission on Sunday declared Muslim Brotherhood`s Mohamed Morsi as the winner of the historic Presidential vote.
The Arab Spring that saw Hosni Mubarak being ousted, finally blossomed with Mohamed Morsi being declared the first freely elected, non-military President of Egypt.
The Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) head Farouq Sultan, announced that Mr Morsi had won 51.7 percent of the runoff vote while former general Ahmed Shafik, garnered 48.3 percent.
The voter turnout was 51 percent.
Hours after he was declared winner, Mursi saluted the judiciary and the army for overseeing the democratic process.
"Respectful salutation to Egypt`s honourable and just judiciary and to the brave men of the army and police who protected the democratic process with all honour. Congratulations to Egypt," he said on his website.
Morsi defeated former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq by a margin of over 88 lakh votes by bagging 13,230,131 votes, while Shafiq clinched 12,347,380 votes.
The first round of vote was held May 23-24, with 12 candidates, but saw none of them winning over 50 percent of the votes.
Morsi and Shafiq, who were the top two candidates, were then involved in a run-off round June 16.
Prior to the announcement, both candidates had already declared victory leading to a tense stand-off between the two camps.
Egyptians had thronged the Tahrir Square, waiting for the election results. Men held their heads between their hands in despair and many women cried as Egypt brimmed with emotions at the historic announcement.
The jubilation was in the air when Morsi`s name was announced on TV as the clear winner of the runoff.
The chants of "Morsi, Morsi" echoed out from the cheering crowd.
"God is greatest" and "down with military rule", they chanted as some set off fire crackers.
Earlier, there were fears violence could break out after Sunday`s announcement, so authorities have deployed extra security forces in Cairo streets and near key state institutions.
Morsy & the Military: The standoff continues
Morsi’s victory is a symbolic culmination of a chaotic transition spanning more than a year that was tightly controlled by the military rulers who took power from Mubarak.
But the revolutionary nation has yet miles to go as far as democracy is concerned as the announcement of the Islamist leader’s triumph will not end the power tussle between the military and the Brotherhood.
Morsi is the first freely elected President of the nation that took 60 years to get its first non-military President as Morsi`s predecessors Mohamed Naguib, Gamal Abdel-Nasser, Anwar El-Sadat and Hosni Mubarak, who ruled the country since the 1952 Free Officers` Coup, all came from military. Many Egyptians have rallied behind Morsi as a chance to finally rid the country of the old Mubarak regime.
A Morsi victory will likely see the new civilian government fight for its authority against a military that has ensured that its powers persist past the transition.
The military, which took over after Mubarak`s ouster, has pledged to hand over power to civilian rule by July 01. But on June 15, the country`s highest court dissolved the country`s Islamist-led Parliament, calling the law under which it had been elected unconstitutional. Two days later the generals issued a declaration in which they gave themselves legislative powers, including control over drafting a Constitution.
Egypt`s military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi today congratulated Mursi on his presidential victory.
"Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi congratulates Dr Mohamed Morsi on winning the presidency of the republic," state media reported.
A series of controversial decrees by the ruling SCAF have angered the Islamists who say they are designed to reduce or constrain the power of the president, and entrench the power of the military.
Earlier, Tantawi had announced the re-establishment of a National Defence Council, putting the generals in charge of Egypt`s national security policy.
Reports have also circulated that the Brotherhood was in negotiations with the SCAF over the presidency.
Egypt`s 2012 presidential elections were the second in the country`s history.
The first Egyptian presidential polls took place in 2005 and saw then president Mubarak secure a clear victory, which many observers chalked up to massive vote-rigging by the now defunct National Democratic Party (NDP).
Mubarak, 84, remained in power for 30 years until the military forced his resignation after 18 days of countrywide protests.
Electoral tension loomed large in Egypt in recent days along with the question of how much power the new president will actually wield now that the military council has full legislative authority.
Under an interim constitutional declaration, the military council retains the power to make laws and budget decisions until a new constitution is written and a new parliament elected.
With Agencies Inputs
(With Agency inputs)