CAIRO — Mohammed Morsi, the onetime jailed member of the formerly banned Muslim Brotherhood, was declared president of Egypt on Sunday, becoming Egypt’s first civilian and democratically elected leader. He will govern a divided populace and share power with a military council that has governed Egypt directly or in the shadows since its modern inception.
The election commission said Morsi won 13.2 million votes to Ahmed Shafik’s 12.3 million. The 52 to 48 percent result was about what Morsi had claimed hours after the polls closed a week earlier.
In Tahrir Square, where an 18-day uprising more than a year ago forced the resignation of Hosni Muabrak, Morsi supporters erupted in cheers at 4:29 p.m. when the results were announced.
It remained unclear what sort of government Morsi would lead. Within hours of polls closing a week ago, the ruling military council, which had battled the Muslim Brotherhood for decades, announced that it had amended the nation’s temporary constitution so the president would have no independent say over military matters. The council also gave itself authority over the drafting of a permanent constitution. Those actions followed the dissolution of Parliament, which the Muslim Brotherhood had dominated.
Still, Morsi’s supporters were exuberant, thrilled not just by the results but also by the fact that they clearly had not been rigged.
“I knew Morsi won but we feared the military council would rig the results,” said Ahmed Hussein, 28, an accountant and Morsi supporter who had spent two days in the square.
In Tahrir Square, the revelry was without restraint. People screamed, dropped to their knees in prayer and fired off fireworks, even though the sun was still up.
Morsi’s uncertain mandate was evident, however, as was his lack of appeal to the revolutionaries whose fervor had toppled Mubarak. Revolutionaries said they were more pleased that Shafik, a retired air force general and Mubarak’s last prime minister, had lost than Morsi won.
A shopkeeper just a block away from the square expressed tepid enthusiasm for change.
“We haven’t tried the Brotherhood before,” said Mohammed Ahmed, 39. “We haven’t had a chance to try something else.”
Some said the results were not about Morsi but ensuring the ruling military council respected the will of the people.
“Morsi is our president. We recognized it from the initial results. We came here to bring him his rights and authorities as president,” said Ahmed al Masry, a 24-year-old Arabic teacher who said he didn’t vote for Morsi in the initial round of balloting in May.
The election commission, whose head was a Mubarak appointee, had said the delay in announcing the result was to give it time to consider more than 400 complaints by the candidates, but as the days passed and the rumors spread, there were fears the military might be trying to rig the result. In the end, however, the difference between the results released by the Brotherhood in the hours after the vote and those tabulated Sunday showed just 5,000 fewer votes for Morsi.
What kind of government Morsi would establish and what that could mean for the United States remained unclear. But within minutes of claiming the presidency, Morsi met a campaign pledge and resigned from the Brotherhood. He was scheduled to speak to the nation later Sunday.
Special correspondent Amina Ismail contributed to this report.