Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi has claimed victory in Egypt’s first post-Mubarak presidential election amid concerns by the international community over the unwillingness of the Egyptian military to relinquish power.
As elections closed on Sunday evening, the ruling military- the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) – allotted a new constitutional document replacing an original declaration the military had issued after the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak’s regime in March 2011.
SCAF have embroidered on its ruling generals wide-ranging powers over the country.
According to experts, the new SCAF constitutional document effectively stripped authority from a new civilian government.
“This is a critical moment in Egypt and the world is watching closely. We are particularly concerned about decisions that appear to prolong the military’s hold on power,” US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told a news conference on Monday.
The ruling military council announced the de facto martial law that gives the armed forces control over the legislature and national budget, as well as granting the generals veto power on a new constitution that is to be written by a chosen panel.
Despite SCARF’s declaration of power, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm on Monday insisted Egypt’s parliament still had the power to legislate.
The U.S. State Department and the Pentagon urged SCAF has however appealed to the Egyptian military to make good on pledges for a swift transfer of power to a civilian government.
“We call on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to restore popular and international confidence in the democratic transition process, by following through on their stated commitments to an inclusive constitutional drafting process, the timely seating of a democratically elected parliament and the swift permanent transfer of power to a civilian government,” Nuland added.
The international community expected the military to hand over complete power to elected civilian leaders as it has promised.
An established win for Mursi would be historic in that it would be the first time Islamists have taken the presidency of Egypt.
The US military, which has forged strong ties to the Egyptian armed forces over decades, said Egypt’s transition must continue by a successful transition to democracy.
“We have and will continue to urge the SCAF to relinquish power to civilian elected authorities,” Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters.
The concerns posed by SCAF have also been exacerbated by events in the Sinai Peninsula.
Since Mubarak stepped down in February 2011, Sinai has been plagued with unrest, fueling fears in Israel.
Egypt has an enduring role as a security partner to the United States and Israel, and leader in promoting regional stability.
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