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Egyptians elect Morsi as next president

He has promised a moderate, modern Islamist agenda to steer Egypt into a new democratic era where autocracy will be replaced by transparent government that respects human rights and revives the fortunes of a powerful Arab state long in decline. Morsi is promising an “Egyptian renaissance with an Islamic foundation.”

Yet the stocky, bespectacled 60-year old, appears something of an accidental president: he was only flung into the race at the last moment by the disqualification on a technicality of Khairat al-Shater, by far the group's preferred choice.

With a stiff and formal style, Morsi, who has a doctorate from the University of Southern California, cast himself as a reluctant late comer to the race, who cited religious fear of judgement day as one of his reasons for running. He struggled to shake off his label as the Brotherhood's “spare tire.”

Questions remain over the extent to which Morsi will operate independently of other Brotherhood leaders once in office: his manifesto was drawn up by the group's policymakers. The role Shater might play has been one focus of debate in Egypt.

“I will treat everyone equally and be a servant of the Egyptian people,” Morsi said at his campaign headquarters in Cairo shortly after polling ended, a week before his victory was confirmed by the Mubarak-era body overseeing the vote.

But many Egyptians, not least the Christian minority, remain suspicious of Morsi and even more so of the group he represents. Anti-Brotherhood sentiment, fueled by both a hostile media and some of the group's policies, has soared in recent weeks.

Ahmed Shafiq, the former general he defeated, won nearly as many votes as Morsi, signalling that Egypt is a nation that is anything but united around the idea of Brotherhood rule. Morsi won a little less than a quarter of the first-round vote in May.

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Supporters of Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Mohammed Morsi demonstrate in Cairo's Tahrir square on Saturday, June 23, prior to the announcement of the results of a divisive presidential election. (AFP)

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