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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Morsi Wins Egyptian Presidential Elections
Aired June 24, 2012 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FAROUK SULTAN, CHAIRMAN, EGYPTIAN ELECTORAL COMMISSION (through translator): -- subcommittees in 15 governments and the right ballot papers, and with the 210,000-plus that these cuts (ph) did not reach these ballot papers, and did not reach the ballot boxes, in which only one case in which the ballot box was put aside and to also to cancel these votes of this ballot box.
And since the results came to the commission, until -- before it's received any challenges to -- started to advise the votes, from the -- starting with the subcommittees. And after examining this, there were some mistakes, in addition, six committed.
There were three committees in Annah (ph) province who did not -- who had nobody voting there. Committee number 10 and subcommittee 3, Abu Trist (ph), 12 and 14th, subcommittee 4. And it's additional. There was only one person who voted in this committee.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN ANCHOR: If you're just joining us, we are watching and listening to a long, detailed and sometimes plaintive announcement from the Egyptian electoral commission, whose chief is slowly describing the electoral process while the entire nation waits and while we wait to hear who Egypt's next president will be.
We're waiting for the announcement of the election results of Egypt's presidential runoff while thousands gather in Tahrir Square, the entire country waiting to find out where a year and a half of the Arab spring, of the painful and sometimes deadly path to democracy will take them. We're continuing to listen.
SULTAN (through translator): The majority of the female voters are Muslims. These committees did not -- did not vote in the first round. To get in touch with the head of the committees, they confirmed that what happened -- the same thing happened in the election of the parliament and the consultative councils.
There was a presence with that number of electorates. The committee -- the commission received six -- there were challenges and changes from the -- to the candidates, 464 -- 65. Thirty-six were received by the commission before Wednesday night. Before Friday -- Thursday morning.
Then the commission to look to examine these challenges for three days in which it asked the ballot paper of many committee and to sort out the votes once again. And it ended with accepting some challenges, and so many challenges were canceled. But the commission also -- it looked at two specific challenges, the first one about forgery of the ballot paper by indicating for one specific candidate in some of the printing companies.
Some of them which -- some of them claim that it's 1 million ballot papers that's been distributed through the governments (ph) and also the second one, a challenge about stopping -- preventing the Coptic Christians from reaching polling stations, especially in Minia government (ph).
And especially in the del rocher (ph) in Minia (ph). That proved these challenges or one of them is enough to cast -- to cast a doubt about the process election in that area. And it reflects hugely about the popular will to the extent to call -- to call into cancel the vote, to cancel the whole election in that area.
And the commission also asked for all the documents and asked information from security piracies (ph), and the committee did not receive except one source of information. And the rest did not supply us with any information. And with the information that was given to the commission, that it reached a conclusion as follows, that as --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How far away are we?
SULTAN (through translator): -- voting, marking -- taking the box of one candidate, specific candidate --
MANN: On a red letter day for Egyptian democracy, a remarkably detailed and frequently defensive account of the work of the country's electoral commission. You're watching live pictures, and we have been hearing live the announcement that we have been expecting from the electoral commission, but not the news that we've been waiting for.
The electoral commission was due to present the results of Egypt's presidential runoff, delayed since Thursday, slated to be announced a little bit more than an hour ago. But we have been hearing the head of the election commission describe instead the work of the commission since it began its work more than a year ago and the challenges it has faced.
Meanwhile, we and those thousands of people on the right of your screen in Tahrir Square have been waiting to find out who Egypt's next ruler will be. Our Cairo bureau chief, Ben Wedeman, and chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, have been waiting along with us.
Ben, did you know this was coming? Because it sounds really like a defense of the election commission more than the results of the election itself.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the results will come, Jonathan; we need to stick in there. But let me just stress one thing, and this is part of the new Egypt. Officials feel obliged to explain why they acted in the way they did and sort of lay it all out as much as possible to the millions of Egyptians who actually cast their ballot.
In fact, just a few weeks ago, we were waiting for a presidential debate, the first ever, that ever happened here in Egypt before the first round. And it was the same thing. They explained to viewers on television why they had picked the candidates to go on this debate, what was the process whereby the decision -- the questions were drawn up.
So this is really within the context of a new, hopefully more transparent Egypt, where officials have to actually account for themselves and account for their work.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: And I suppose, Ben, also, this painstaking description is also to lay the groundwork for no further challenges so that both parties, both sides in this country, will accept, they hope, the decision of this election, now that they are in the process still of laying it all out. And that is also a really interesting concept.
Of course, people power is showing itself, to an extent, in Tahrir Square behind us. And as we've been saying all day, this is the Muslim Brotherhood group which have been busing their people in for the last several days.
To be very frank, it's not a massive group of people. We've seen Tahrir Square filled and flooded many, many more times much more impressively over the last several days and of course over the last 18 months or so. There is a much smaller group of supporters for Ahmed Shafiq, who are gathered in a hotel closer to the airport. Those are his supporters.
And, again, we're really waiting to see. I mean, talk about edge of your seat. It's not just the people in these squares. It's people in all these homes and houses who are either watching television or listening to the radio.
It's people in capitals all over the world. It's people who really want to know what will be the result of this historic election here. But I think, you know, we've been talking so much about this. There is a deep sense of disappointment as well.
We've heard one of Egypt's primary writers tweet out that if, for instance, Ahmed Shafiq, who is the old guard, the military supported person, the one who is right-hand man to Hosni Mubarak, if he actually wins this election, what was this revolution for?
We've heard equally people very disappointed with the Muslim Brotherhood. They've seen them in control of parliament for the last several months and they haven't achieved much to be proud of or much to make a meaningful difference in people's lives. So I think that for the people here, this has been kind of a bad choice-bad choice election.
WEDEMAN: It certainly has. But I mean, I'm just looking out. It's 4:00 pm on Cairo on a Sunday afternoon. And the roads should be full of cars. It should be rush hour. And what we're seeing is actually very few cars on the road because I think -- I think despite the disappointment, many people feel that it was a choice between the lesser of two evils.
I think people are very aware of the historical significance of this. And that is why there's in this city of more than 18 million people, it appears most of them are watching television at the moment.
MANN: Well, I'd like to say that the atmosphere must be electric there, but I imagine it is simply hot. You're standing over the square. You say it's not as crowded as it used to be. But tell us who's there. Tell us what you're seeing. How are they finding out about the election results? I'm hearing some noise echoing across the square.
WEDEMAN: I missed the question.
AMANPOUR: Jonathan's asking us how is the crowd hearing about the news.
There is piped in audio from the election commission. They're hearing what we're hearing, what you're hearing. And they are anticipating and, of course, they expected an hour ago this result to be made public. We have been both of us down in Tahrir Square. And it is blistering hot. You know, slowly getting a little cooler as the sun begins to set.
But they've been here pretty much all day in the midday sun. People are throwing water over people there, you know, very mindful of the fact that this is a very, very hard temperature to be able to spend several hours in. And that's what they've been doing for the last several hours.
But, again, this is the Muslim Brotherhood group. They've been busing their people in. And they are waiting there, along with all of us, to get the results. And you were saying, Ben, earlier, you described for Jonathan the way the crowd was being whipped up.
WEDEMAN: Yes, certainly, there -- for a while there they were really sort of chanting and sort of yelling, "oh, Lord, oh, Lord." And but I can tell that after this has been going on, what, about 40 minutes, people are quiet. And it looks like they're just getting a little impatient.
Now I've been down there watching people to the left and to the right, basically fainting from sunstroke. And I imagine they're getting fairly impatient to hear the final results and just get to the point.
AMANPOUR: And I think important to say, also, that a lot of the pre- speech comments down there were about the military. They do not want the military to retain political and effective total control of this country.
There have been slogans out there. And we know that even before we were anticipating today's results, the Muslim Brotherhood has said that no matter who wins, even if their candidate, Mohammed Morsi does, they are going to be in for a prolonged sit-in, because it's no longer in their mind just about who wins the election, but about what meaningful power and authority a president will have now that SCAF, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, over the last several days, has stripped any next president of any effective power and stripped the parliament so far of any legislative power, having dissolved the parliament.
WEDEMAN: Well, in fact, that's one of the complaints of many of the people in this square is that back in November and January, they went -- it was by Egyptian standards a huge turnout, more than 60 percent. And the parliament had a stamp of popular legitimacy. And the courts turned around and dissolved it.
And I think that's one of the reasons why there is so much resentment among these people. What they've been chanting down there is "Go, go to the field marshal," Field Marshal Mohammed Tantawi, who's the senior officer within the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
And this is a fundamental change for the Muslim Brotherhood since -- because after February 11th, when Hosni Mubarak stepped down, the Brotherhood had a fairly cooperative relationship with the military.
But that relationship has soured as the Muslim Brotherhood has shown that, in terms of politics, it did very well in the parliamentary election. Of course, they did relatively well, but not as well in these presidential elections. Of course, we're waiting to hear how exactly well they did.
MANN: Our Cairo bureau chief, Ben Wedeman, our chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, waiting for those election results. We have been seeing from time to time the face of the chairman of the electoral commission, Farouk Sultan, on our screens. And we've been seeing extraordinary security around the electoral commission itself.
The authorities are clearly concerned. They have reaffirmed standing orders, longstanding orders that if there are any attempts on government buildings, on police buildings, the police have orders to shoot to kill. We're also told that there are 1,800 ambulances on alert to ferry away the wounded and injured in the event there's trouble.
We've seen no sign of it. Cairo seems to be a little quieter than normal but entirely calm. The crowd in Tahrir Square seems remarkably well behaved while we've been watching all this. But if we still have Christiane or Ben with us, are you seeing any sign of the security forces there?
No, we don't. We do have Dan Rivers, though, and he's in another part of the city. He's further off with supporters of Ahmed Shafiq, the former military man, who is now one of two candidates in the running. What's happening there?
DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, like the rest of Egypt, they are watching this very lengthy result being read out. Let me just wheel 'round. We're in the J.W. Marriott right out near the airport here in (inaudible), so it's quite a long way really outside of metropolitan Cairo. This is the scene before you, a few hundred Shafiq supporters have tramped into one of the ballrooms here.
And they're watching it on big screens, this lengthy result being read out. What appears to be happening is that they're going through sort of contested ballot by contested ballot down the country from north to south. And as they get to one they feel that they should have won, there's been periodic ripples of applause, feeling vindicated here.
Here's another one right now. (Inaudible). Now, we're just hearing now it seems that they have canceled the -- we're just waiting to hear, but it appears there's some sort of cancellation just being read out right now. But more applause here. And people are digesting what's going on.
MANN: Dan, I want to ask you, though, about what we're seeing, because --
RIVERS: That was a bit of bad information there, Jonathan.
MANN: Let's go back now to election --
RIVERS: Actually, let me just clarify. That was a bad bit of information. That was just reporting one of the contested ballots. We're still waiting for the final result, and people here occasionally are clapping as they feel vindicated in certain areas.
But it's pretty nervous, pretty tense. People are smoking in here. They're obviously worried about what all this means for Egypt and what it means for them as well if their rival, Mohammed Morsi, is confirmed as president.
MANN: Dan, I am struck, I have to tell you, not so much by what you're telling us but by the scene behind you. Tens of millions of people voted in this election. At least 50 million we heard in the first round. I'm not sure about the second round. But tens of millions of people voted according to the electoral commission.
We're still waiting to hear the results of that vote. We are seeing thousands in Tahrir Square, which is apparently a small crowd by Tahrir Square standards. And there seem to be only a handful in the headquarters or rather in the meeting behind you, gathered for supporters of one of the two runoff candidates. How many people are there and why aren't we seeing more of them, do you think?
RIVERS: Yes. It's quite strange, actually, how few people are here. We were told they held it out here because there were too many for them to be accommodated in the campaign headquarters. But really there are, what, maybe 200 people here, perhaps, as you look across this room. You can tell most of them are very well-dressed.
There's some people here in military uniforms, a lot of people in suits. So these are not your average sort of working-class Egyptians. These are very much people from the upper echelons of society.
You can see as our camera is having a good walk around, and I'll wander with them if we can, just give you a sense of how bit this meeting is. It's not that big at all. There's probably, what, one, two, three, four, five -- there's about 20 tables of people here.
As I say, many of them sort of nervously looking at their mobile phones and listening to this broadcast as it's made on two big screens behind us. People obviously getting impatient. There's a bit of a hubbub here as this lengthy sort of results is read out. But you're right, it's not -- it's not packed to the rafters as expected.
It's being held in a sort of five-star hotel right out on the edge of town. Now there was, as we mentioned earlier, a huge traffic jam to get here caused by a horrific accident on the freeway. So that may have prevented a lot of people getting here who wanted to get here.
But certainly it's not the kind of jam-packed meeting that one would anticipate for such a crucial juncture in the history of -- political history of Egypt.
MANN: Dan Rivers live with supporters of Ahmed Shafiq, listening to the Egyptian election commission reading out its statement, leading up to, we are told, the announcement of the election results for Egypt's presidential runoff. Well, from those few hundreds in a hotel, a study in contrasts in Cairo today, the thousands who are gathered in the heat of Tahrir Square.
Ian Lee is among them. Ian, they must be wilting because of the wait and because of the heat. And I'm wondering if they are getting frustrated.
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jonathan, I can tell you this is the quietest I've heard Tahrir Square in quite a long time. Everyone is just listening intently (ph) on the announcement, on the election commission delivering their speech. They're huddling around (inaudible) televisions, computers. And also trying to get into the shade because it is hot out here.
Like was reported earlier, this is a smaller crowd than we've seen definitely in the past. This is in Tahrir at a (inaudible). But with this election, with the announcement we're expecting either way, whichever way it goes, more people are going to come into the square right now.
But, you know, just looking around, we have people on (inaudible), we have people praying. Definitely this is a strong area for Mohammed Morsi supporters. People are just waiting intently, talking to each other in hushed voices, waiting for that announcement.
MANN: Let me just give people a sense of what we're talking about, just to put this in human terms. It is -- in Fahrenheit it's 97 degrees, according to the reports we have here. That would be in the high 30s Celsius. And these people are pretty closely packed shoulder to shoulder. And they say they are staying.
One measure of the determination that many people have to see this election through to the result that they have been hoping for. And this is the man that they're waiting for, Farouk Sultan. He's the head of the presidential election commission. He has been recounting the work of the commission, the challenges -- and there have been hundreds to the election that was held.
It was held in two rounds, the first round, about 50 million voters. There were hundreds of complaints about the way even the second round was conducted. And he is apparently working his way slowly through them. He was scheduled to begin speaking more than an hour ago. He began, I guess it was, nearly an hour ago.
Thousands of people in Tahrir Square, millions across Egypt, are huddled close to radios, close to television sets, waiting to hear the number for the presidential result.
Two candidates in the runoff election, Mohammed Morsi, the candidate of the party allied with the Muslim Brotherhood, and Ahmed Shafiq, a man who ran without the backing of any political party but on the basis of his past as a regime loyalist, a former prime minister, a former minister in the Mubarak government, closely allied, even to this day, it is believed with the military. Let's listen in.
SULTAN (through translator): And it canceled 1,036 votes taken from Hamid Shafiq. As for the challenges given challenges made by Mohammed Morsi, the candidate --
MANN: It is a remarkable achievement Egypt has had, this difficult and imperfect path towards democracy. It elected a parliament, only to see that parliament voted unconstitutional by the country's courts and then to have the parliament suspended by the country's military rulers.
So there is no sitting parliament. Egyptians who have invested so much emotion and passion and even so much of their own blood pushing their country towards democracy have been looking towards this, then, the election of their country's first democratically elected president.
Ian Lee is with the demonstrators, the protesters in Tahrir Square. Ian, there has been so much concern of violence today, so much concern that these tensions would boil over. How does it seem to you there? Are people ready to accept whatever the decision is that they're about to hear?
LEE: People -- it looks like people aren't ready to accept this president. The Muslim Brotherhood has stated that they will stay here and they will keep protesting if Shafiq is president. They have not made any (inaudible) about that.
But (inaudible) something that showed the devotion of the Muslim Brotherhood's followers are that the people are out here in such extreme weather, extreme heat. And so it just shows how much control the Muslim Brotherhood, how much power they do have (inaudible) segment of society, is that we're seeing these people out here.
So we haven't seen any violence or any inclinations of violence. Usually when we do see stuff (inaudible), you see piling of rocks, sticks, concrete (inaudible). But we haven't seen any of that. So we're not anticipating any violence at least in the near future or at all really. But people definitely are adamant about staying here.
And the Muslim Brotherhood does have strong support down here. And if they do say -- if they give orders to do something, people here are most likely to follow.
MANN: Ian Lee in Tahrir square. Thanks very much. We're not going to go far. But positioned just above the square are Cairo bureau chief, Ben Wedeman, and our chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour.
And, Ben, I don't know if you've had a chance to listen in to the election commission announcement. But what is he doing?
WEDEMAN: Well, that's a good question. He's really explaining the nuts and bolts of this electoral process. In fact, I'm waiting for him to start to name individually all the people who voted in this election.
And even though I think it's fascinating to hear the details of how they went through this process, how they dealt with irregular votes and whatnot, I think, speaking on behalf of 90 million Egyptians, I'd like to -- think we'd like to hear the result results, Jonathan.
AMANPOUR: You speak for 90 million Egyptians. It's obviously really long. And it is keeping people very much on the edge of their seats, as we've been saying. They're also talking about going from polling station to polling station, how many people voted for this candidate or that candidate, how many votes were invalidated, how many irregularities there were.
I think beyond this technical sort of situation right now, people are really anxious to know what kind of a difference will it make to their lives if one or the other was elected.
I spoke to Mohammed Morsi, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, of course, the Freedom and Justice Party, which is their political wing. And I asked him about the fears that many people here have about being ruled by an Islamist party.
I asked him about women who are already raising questions about what their rights would be, what about laws that have been enacted to protect women, particularly in the sexual harassment area, particularly in the, sorry to say, female genital mutilation category.
There are all sorts of rumors that some of these laws may be overturned. These are very important for women here to know and to be confident they will have not just the rights that they have right now protected but to get even more equal rights under a new revolutionary Egypt. After all, it was women -- there's a huge cheer that's just gone up in the crowd right now.
It was --
SULTAN (through translator): The public held on the 16th or 17th of June, 2012, would be as follows. The number -- total number of votes that -- and the list 50,958,794, the number of vote -- casted their votes; 26,420,763 voters, the number of those attended, 51 percent for and 85 percent. The number of right votes, 25,577,511 votes.
The number of votes, there are votes, 843,252. What has H candidate won? The total of Ahmed Shafiq, 12 million -- I'm sorry, 12,347,300 -- 12, 347,380 votes., 80 percent -- 48 percent. The total, the victor, Mohammed Morsi, (inaudible), he won 3 million -- 13 million --
SULTAN: Sit down. Resume your seats.
(Cheers and applause)
MANN: An eruption of energy and enthusiasm from Cairo's Tahrir Square coming as Egypt's electoral commission announces that its candidate, Mohamed Morsi, of the Freedom and Justice Party, has won Egypt's presidential election. The Arab world's most populous nation elects an Islamist head of state. Our chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, our Cairo bureau chief Ben Wedeman are on the scene watching this eruption of joy. Christiane, your thoughts?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jonathan, it is incredible to be standing over here watching this square explode and enjoy, obviously, these are the Muslim Brotherhood supporters who've been brought over here for so long. But this is a dramatic moment. We did not know, they did not know who was going to be their president. It's the first time in the history of modern Egypt that Egyptians have not known who they will have as their leader.
This is also the first Islamist head of state to emerge from these Arab uprisings. It is the first Islamic head of state in the Arab world. This is a fundamental, historic, transformative moment with all the questions. You noticed a bit of hesitation in my voice. Because it's been all the questions that accompany what is going to happen next. But after an hour of reading out painstaking, perhaps more than an hour, reasons for coming to this answer and coming to this result, Egypt's highest election commission has announced Mohamed Morsi will be and is the next president of Egypt in this country's first ever free and democratic election. It may have not been the two candidates that most of Egypt had wanted. They are the two most polarized candidates. One the Islamist, Muslim Brotherhood. The other representative of the old guard, Ahmed Shafiq, who lost by a margin of some one million votes. But this is an extraordinary moment, Ben, to be watching from here after covering this for so, so long.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And certainly you can see from the reaction of the crowd, Christiane, that, you know, for those supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood this is, indeed, truly significant. It was just a year and a half ago under the regime of Hosni Mubarak that many of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, including Mohamed Morsi himself, spent time in prison. Now we see Mohamed Morsi will be named the next president of Egypt. Hosni Mubarak, the last president is a prisoner now serving a life sentence for not doing enough to stop the killing of protesters in the beginning of last year . So for the Muslim Brotherhood, hugely significant. At the same time, we have to point out that due to recent decisions by the military council, President Morsi will have very limited powers. Most of the major decisions he would be making as president need to be approved beforehand by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. The army remains a state within a state, which decides on its budget with very little civilian oversight. So he is the president of Egypt. But Mohamed Morsi is a man who will have very limited powers, certainly compared to the powers of his predecessor.
AMANPOUR: And again, this is just stunning. If you --
MANN: Ian Lee who is in Tahrir Square, and Ian, if you can hear us over the roar of the crowd, tell us what's going on around you.
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Jonathan. It's pandemonium. People are celebrating. They're hugging. They're crying. You know, a pure emotion. When the announcement came there was just one loud Allahu Akbar -- "God is great!" they started dancing around. We're seeing fireworks. We're seeing flags waved. People are jumping on top of cars, dancing. I have not seen a celebration like this since the night Mubarak fell down, stepped down. Here, just a huge party. And you can be sure that this is just the beginning. This is -- this party is going to go well into the night as people just continue to stream in. And it looks like we have people from all around on the roads are starting to come in, into the square. It really is a sight to behold. All these people jumping around, dancing. People calling their loved ones, telling them about the news. It really is a quite the celebratory atmosphere here, Jonathan.
MANN: This is Tahrir Square. We're looking at live pictures of the epicenter of the Egyptian revolution. And a result no one could have predicted two years ago today. Egypt's next head of state will be Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ian Lee is in that rapturous crowd. Ian, many people fear the Muslim Brotherhood. They fear Mohamed Morsi. They fear what will become of the role of women, the role of secular government, the peace with Israel, relations with the west. But on this day at this moment I suppose they're being outvoted, aren't they, by the crowd around them?
LEE: Apparently, the crowd right here, I have to say, is a good mixture of men and women. Old, young. But you are not seeing some of the strict single demographics that we've seen in the past. This is definitely a good mixture. And, you know, right now a lot of people are thinking about those issues. These are definitely important issues that will need to be addressed as the Muslim Brotherhood -- as Mohamed Morsi now takes the presidency. These people issues -- people will definitely talk about. For right now, there's just celebration, Jonathan. It is just one big party here in Tahrir Square. It's really hard to hear them. To hear even near over the rapture right now. It's so loud.
MANN: Ian Lee in Tahrir Square. And if you're just joining us, here are the numbers according to Egypt's Higher Presidential Election Commission. 51.73 percent of voters backed Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi, the winner of Egypt's presidential runoff election. Ahmed Shafiq, the hope of secularists, the hope of more conservative elements in Egypt, the hope of much of its most affluent citizens lost the election with 48.27 percent of the vote. Let's just listen in and share the moment with the happy crowd in Tahrir Square.
(Cheers and applause)
MANN: The outpouring of joy, all of that emotion is about so many things. It's not necessarily about the man who's won, Mohamed Morsi. You can see him there. He will be Egypt's next president. But he is now in the history of his people, he is in the history of the Arab world, the history of the century. The first Islamist elected to head the Muslim world's most populous and influential nation. Morsi is 60 years old. He is an engineer by training. And he received his training in the United States. He got his Ph.D. at the University of Southern California. He was a professor at California State University at Northridge. His two children are American citizens. But he has not hidden his scorn for the moral decay of the United States. And so many questions will have to be addressed.
Egypt has been one of Washington's closest allies in the Middle East. Certainly its closest ally in the Arab world. What will become of that? What will become of the peace treaty with Israel? What will become of its slow, tentative and frequently set back road to democracy? Because Morsi's own position as president is uncharted. The military will write the constitution. And it's not clear whether he will have the power he expected at the start of this campaign. But those bigger issues pale in comparison with the scene we are witnessing now. Tahrir Square, the seat of the Egyptian revolution, an enormous outpouring of relief and emotion. We'll be back right after this.
No. I'm told we're staying with this. We're going to keep watching. Dan Rivers is at the smaller hotel gathering of supporters of Ahmed Shafiq, the defeated candidate. Dan, what's happening there?
DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's been some absolutely fallen faces. Some fury. An altercation with one of the pro- revolution TV channels between a female supporter who threw something and yelled at them. Really some real high passions there. I'm joined by one supporter of Ahmed Shafiq, Manel Quashkami (ph). What's your initial reaction seeing this result?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're all fear from the Islamic state, Muslim -- the Muslim Brotherhood are representing, and all I have to say is wishing Mr. Morsi good luck and hoping he'll be the president of all Egyptians as promised. Hope we see a better future with him. I highly doubt it, but I don't have anything to believe in except hope in the future.
RIVERS: A lot of people here were actually crying as the news came through. And I can see you're moved as well. This really has hit people very hard here, hasn't it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yes. I didn't expect it at all. I was coming here thinking that Mr. Shafiq is our president and everything said that, all the evidence, everything.
RIVERS: In fact, in fact, he said that on his Facebook page as well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, not himself, actually ...
RIVERS: For his campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Campaign, yes.
RIVERS: But it was premature now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, actually, it was premature on both sides. Mr. Morsi announced the results four -- like four hours before they finished. And then the campaign here announced results very early. Now I agree. We should have waited until the final results. And so that we don't have people get high hopes. And--
RIVERS: What's the way forward for Egypt from here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I -- all what we want is to develop our country. The country develop to become - to occupy the opposition (inaudible). So, again, with Mr. Morsi, we will -- we are hoping for that. Hopefully he'll do what -- develop Egypt, hopefully he'll be fair and be president of all Egyptians, not only the Muslim Brotherhood group.
RIVERS: Will the army accept this result, do you think?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, of course. Yes. Yes, we all -- we all accept it. We all respect the law. I mean we cannot say anything. And it is the law. As you see the elections were clear and everything. And everybody was suspecting that Mr. Shafiq would win, because he is supported by the army, and, of course, this turned out not to be true at all. It was true elections, honest elections.
RIVERS: Thank you very much, indeed. I just kind of -- immediate bit of reaction. But here people obviously very upset. As I say, there was some actual altercations that here between some of the press. But you can see now it's completely empty. All of those supporters, the few hundred that had crowded in here have left. You're looking at an empty room as the hotel staff starts that clearing up. A sign of just how disgusted and disappointed they are with this result. But perhaps, as that lady said, a result nevertheless they will accept.
MANN: A remarkable image behind you. Ahmed Shafiq's supporters basically flee the room where they had gathered. 48 percent of the country, Dan Rivers, was said to have voted for that man. But not a lot of supporters to be found on this day. Dan Rivers with the Shafiq supporters, thanks very much. You're looking still at the tumultuous scene in Tahrir Square where supporters of Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate who is now elected Egypt's next president. Let's listen in.
(Cheers and applause)
MANN: Ian Lee is in that throng in Tahrir Square. What a day to be there after a year and a half of struggle. They have a single accomplishment, they have elected their candidate to the presidency. LEE: And Jonathan, here in Tahrir Square, I want to point out something else. This is (inaudible) heavy Muslim Brotherhood. But we're also seeing flags of the group the Six of April. This is a youth movement that formed a few years ago. During the presidential election, their whole campaign was against anybody who was a member of the former regime. Now, these weren't people -- they weren't with any candidate in particular. They said as long as it wasn't someone who had any ties to the former regime. So, a lot of people from that movement, too. Really, this square is full of people who are celebrating that Mohamed Morsi won, but also celebrating the fact that Ahmed Shafiq lost. And these are the people who were other revolutionaries who said that they do not want anyone from the former regime. So, we're seeing both groups really celebrating here. Throwing babies in the air and waving flags and just, you know, hugging each other. It really is quite the celebration here in Tahrir.
MANN: And as a symbol, I'll just point out of it, a transformation of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood was barely tolerated and often persecuted organization in Egypt. It did its best not to annoy authorities as it tried to navigate its way through Hosni Mubarak's dictatorial regime. Even in the first days of the revolution the Muslim Brotherhood was cautious and a little bit tepid in its support because its instincts were so conservative. Now the Muslim Brotherhood seems to be the spearhead. It seems to be the heir to the hopes of so many Egyptians who came out and faced down the authorities, faced down the security forces, fought and won Egypt's revolution. Now the Muslim Brotherhood is the recipient of that enormous popular will. And all of those expectations, all of them vested in the person of Mohamed Morsi. I don't imagine he's in the square today. I'm wondering if there's any indication, if you have heard when we might hear or see the president-elect of Egypt?
LEE: I haven't heard if he's going to make it down to the square. I tell you though, if he does, he would receive a welcome like no other. When you know, when you talked about how the Muslim Brotherhood was a little bit -- it's not that (inaudible) instantly supporting the revolution in the beginning, but they came on strong. The Muslim Brotherhood in this past year and a half has had a self-learning (inaudible). They had to adapt. Had to change their ways. Had to feel -- change overall this political system that kept evolving in front of us in order to stay relevant. This is an organization that grew up really the last 30 years was under a dictatorship. And knew how to operate under a dictatorship. Now it's coming to the forefront of Egyptian political life. This is a big test for them. And it shows how they've had to evolve over the past year and a half to gather supporters, to move effectively in an election, in a campaign and to be able to get out the vote. And today we're seeing them bring in a president, Mohamed Morsi. This is just after less than a year and a half in the same square they got rid of Hosni Mubarak.
MANN: Ian Lee in Tahrir Square. We'll come back to you in a moment. But we've been watching this with our Cairo bureau chief and chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour and Ben Wedeman. Christiane, this is a scene that's got to be resonating around the world certainly, but in the Arab world very profoundly. AMANPOUR: Absolutely, Jonathan. Absolutely. And not just in the Arab world. In the United States. In the West as well. Because as we've been saying over and over again, what is the significance of this moment beyond that it is Egypt's first presidential election, that it is the Arab uprising. That he is the first Islamist head of state in this part of the world. And you know what tremors that sends around people. Not just abroad, but in this part of the world as well. Because they want to know, what does that mean for my life? How will my life change under an Islamist president?
I asked him all these very pointed questions in an interview I conducted with him just before the election. And perhaps we'll play some of it later on. But we talked about what kind of a democracy will this be? What is a Muslim Brotherhood democracy? And he said there is no such thing as a Muslim Brotherhood or Islamic democracy. There is only a democracy where everybody will be treated equally. Women, Christians, minorities, men. Everybody will be treated equally, he said. We will wait to see that. Because I can assure you that women are worried. At least those who didn't vote for him. Women are worried about whether their limited rights will be curtailed even further. Who else is worried? Christians. I spoke to Christians just the weekend of the election. The final run-up last week. They were worried. They said, oh, my goodness. What does this mean? Do we have to leave this country?
We've seen the flare-up of violence between Christians and Muslims since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak. What does this mean for us? Even if we're not pushed out, what kind of business can we still operate? What kind of neighborly relations can we expect to have? What about the relations with the United States, I asked him about. And he said we want to continue to have relations with the United States. But you know that in the backdrop of all of that, the people's voice will count in a future foreign policy in Egypt and in many other of these Arab countries which have experienced these revolutions. It is no longer friendly autocrats who will be able to conduct their foreign policy without so much as any regard for the street. He said that we want a policy of mutual friendship with the United States based on mutual interest. And he pointed to an absolute must. And that was, in his mind, the United States playing a fair and active role in the Israeli/Palestinian standoff that continues to this day.
I asked what about Israel, then. He said we will continue to maintain the Camp David accords. But, again, said, we will do it, we will uphold our end of the bargain if they uphold their end of the bargain. So again, it's no longer a one way street. And I think this is what's on many, many people's minds even as we watch this incredible moment, this stunning moment. And let's not forget, I mean, it's so difficult to get your head around this moment. For six decades the military that has ruled Egypt has been at loggerheads, physically, politically with this group, the Muslim Brotherhood. And now the military is presiding over a victory by the Muslim Brotherhood. They will be in charge of this country.
MANN: Well, let me jump in on that very thought. Because as you confront the possibility of a Muslim democracy in Egypt, it's still a military democracy at best. Ben Wedeman, the pictures we're seeing today are remarkable. But they may be a little bit deceptive. After today, is Mohamed Morsi really going to be running the country?
WEDEMAN: No, he's not going to be running the country. He's more than anything going to be a figurehead. But if you look at that crowd and you see the level of support, and he did get more than 50 percent of the votes, he certainly does have a certain amount of clout that goes beyond the technicalities of whatever his powers are.
And what's interesting is that between the first round of voting in May and this round, the Muslim Brotherhood has been very active trying to broaden its appeal. It's trying to bring in the liberals, the seculars, the left, the workers. And certainly they have been, for instance, Mohamed Morsi had a meeting just a few days ago with the secular opposition. With others, in which he said he would appoint a vice president who might be a Christian, a woman, a youth from Tahrir Square. So they're painfully aware that they have to make sort of a coalition, a broad coalition beyond their very narrow following.
I mean, for instance, before the first round of voting, we went out to a part of sort of outside of Cairo to a town called Beni Suaz (ph) where they were really appealing to their base. The rural poor, the farmers. And the focus was very much on religious issues. On the question of implementing Sharia or Islamic law.
Since the first round, they've changed their tone very much to try to broaden their appeal to reassure the Christian minority, which makes up about ten percent of the population, that they will not be pursuing an Islamic agenda. They will try to broaden their appeal so that they can work with all Egyptians and not, of course, just their -- really their base is about 25 to 30 percent of the population. And what's interesting to note, Jonathan, is that in the parliamentary elections they got twice as many votes as they did in the presidential election. So they realize that the Egyptian population is very skeptical about the Muslim Brotherhood. Not just Christians. Not just women. But ordinary Muslim Egyptians who feel that it's somewhat pretentious of them to call themselves the Muslim Brotherhood. Many Egyptians will say am I any less Muslim than they are? So, they really have to tread carefully at this stage.
MANN: Millions of Egyptians are watching this scene unfold on television and as Ben rightly points out, millions of Egyptians, 48 percent of them, did not vote for the candidate who's now been declared the winner. But if you're just joining us, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party has been elected Egypt's next president according to the country's higher presidential election commission with 51.7 percent of the vote. Ahmed Shafiq, the Mubarak loyalist who served as the toppled dictator's last prime minister received 48 percent of the vote. A polarized nation, but a clear result. And in Tahrir Square, the joy is complete.
We're watching this remarkable scene with Christiane Amanpour, our chief international correspondent and Ben Wedeman, our Cairo bureau chief. I'm just wondering from you then, all of this, of course, is unprecedented and Mohamed Morsi is, himself, new to the business of electoral politics. Do we have any indication from him or his supporters when we might hear an acceptance speech or see him speak to the people of Egypt who now are expecting he will be their president? WEDEMAN: No, I don't think we have any indication yet. But obviously it will be highly anticipated. You know, when in 2005 when Hosni Mubarak won his last election, it took him quite some time to get around to giving an acceptance speech because it really wasn't considered that important. And obviously now you're going to be hearing from a man who spent some time in prison, I think 18 months in prison under Hosni Mubarak. And I think there's a sort of a feeling that we have finally arrived among the Muslim Brotherhood supporters and its members. Before the revolution, this -- the Muslim Brotherhood -- and there was no Freedom and Justice Party. They had no political party. It was an operation, an organization that existed very much in sort of a legal limbo. We always called it not (ph) banned, but tolerated. And sometimes it was not tolerated at all. Many of its leaders rounded up summarily and thrown in prison.
AMANPOUR: Exactly. And I think also what's really interesting is precisely this now tension in some way or fashion that's going to have to be worked out between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood.
If indeed the Muslim Brotherhood sticks to what it said before this result, and that is that they're going to continue to occupy Tahrir Square even if their candidate won, because they wanted to say no to the military having all meaningful power in this country, that is going to be very interesting.
I think that, you know, the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood as we've been saying didn't play a full frontal role in the revolution -- Tahrir Square was not manned on the frontlines by the Muslim Brotherhood. They were much more in the background supporting the young people and really sort of just being part of it from a background position. They said they weren't going to contest the presidential elections. And then they did. They said they weren't going to go full-fledged into the parliamentary elections, and then they did.
So they have amassed a huge amount of power. And it will be very interesting to see how they reach some kind of accommodation with the military. Because powerful or not, there's going to be a constitutional committee of some sort that's got to write the constitution. Is the Muslim Brotherhood going to sit back and allow the military simply to write laws that just benefit itself and to take all kind of executive power or legislative power away from the people? I don't think they're going to be able to do that. So that, we're going to watch this democratic process hopefully unfold. And I think uppermost in everybody's mind is that this must be the first of a series of elections. Not like in other places where you have a democratic election, and then that's it. Then the rest is autocracy for many years. People won't stand for it. I think this Tahrir Square is a symbol of the fact that this is the people's voice. And that we're going to keep coming out here if there are things that we don't approve of.
MANN: Christiane Amanpour and Ben Wedeman overlooking Tahrir Square. This is one of the moments when a place tells us about our time. Think of the Berlin Wall falling. Think of Nelson Mandela being liberated from (inaudible) prison. Now, Tahrir Square takes its place alongside them with the election of Mohamed Morsi as Egypt's first democratically chosen leader, and the first Islamist head of state of the Arab spring.
I'm Jonathan Mann. Our coverage will continue for viewers around the world. Viewers in the United States will return to regularly scheduled programming. This is Cairo, live, Tahrir Square.