Muhammad Mursi claims victory in Prez polls

Cairo: Egypt`s moderate Islamist force Muslim Brotherhood claimed victory in the presidential poll today and promised to build a modern democratic state, but the landmark election stood overshadowed by uncertainty as the ruling military took over legislative powers.

Hours after voting closed in Egypt`s presidential run off, the Muslim Brotherhood man Muhammad Mursi declared victory over Ahmed Shafiq, an air force man and Hosni Mubarak`s last prime minister.

At a press conference held at the Brotherhood headquarters Mursi paid homage to the martyrs of the revolution that ousted Mubarak, and promised that there would be no settling of accounts.

"I will be a brother and servant to all Egyptians," said Mursi, flanked by the Freedom and Justice Party chief Essam El-Erian, former parliamentary speaker Saad El-Katatni and FJP MP Saad El-Husseini.

He vowed to establish a just civilian country and saluted "the revolution`s `martyrs`, the revolutionaries and those who said `Yes` to me as well as those who said `No` to me."

"We promise to build a democratic and modern state with a constitution," he said as supporters broke out singing the national anthem.

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 per cent 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. Another spokesperson for Shafiq, told private ONTV that their campaign does not recognise any results announced by Mursi`s campaign, describing their actions as `absurd` and `pathetic media manipulation.`

While the candidates matched claims with counter claims, Egyptians were more concerned over parallel developments that the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) consolidate its hold on power.

Powered by a recent court order that dissolved an elected parliament, the ruling military moved to take much of the country`s control, including legislative powers, in its hands.

Adding to the confusion and uncertainty, the SCAF released a "constitutional annex", a decree outlining the powers of the new president last night. "The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces shall exercise the powers referred to under the first clause of article 56 (the article on legislative power)… until the election of a new People`s Assembly," the decree stated.

The Supreme Court earlier this week declared the recently held parliamentary election, that were won by the Muslim Brotherhood`s FJP, as unconstitutional on certain grounds.

According to a report in Al Jazeera, the powers outlined for the president in the decree were are quite limited. "He may declare war, for example, only after seeking SCAF`s approval. The decree also reminds the president that he can call on the military to quell `unrest` inside the country," the report said.

The interim constitutional document, however, promised fresh parliamentary elections, but not until a new constitution has been drafted.

The parliament-appointed 100-member assembly to draft the constitution will be allowed to continue its work, though if it runs into "obstacles", SCAF will appoint a replacement, said the document. The Muslim Brotherhood was quick to call the decree "null and unconstitutional".