Egyptian Military Generals Assert Power

Both candidates claimed victory Monday, but it's unclear how much power the winner of the country's election will actually have.

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Muslim Brotherhood supporters (Getty Images)

Two candidates have declared themselves Egypt's first democratically elected president today: Both the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq claimed over 50 percent of the vote. But as the votes are tallied and the official winner of the election is sorted out, there are questions about how much power the country's new leader will actually have, after a decree by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces that stripped the position of much of its power.

The Washington Post reports:

At an early morning news conference, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi declared himself the winner and promised to save and serve Egypt. But former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq's campaign also claimed victory, with 53 percent of the vote. Final results are not expected until Thursday.

On Sunday, the country's military leaders issued a constitutional decree that gave the armed forces sweeping powers and downgraded the presidency to a subservient role. The seizure of power followed months in which Egypt's ruling generals had promised to cede authority to a new civilian government by the end of June. Activists and political analysts charged that the generals' move instead marked the start of a military dictatorship, a sharp reversal from the promise of Egypt's popular revolt last year.

The generals sought to play down the scope of the decree during a news conference Monday. Maj. Gen. Mohamed el-Assar said the military chiefs would hold a grand ceremony before the end of the month to hand over the reins of power to the new president.

"The elected president will receive all the authorized powers of the president of the republic," Assar said.

Read more at the Washington Post.

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Sept. 19 2014 8:34 AM