The Muslim Brotherhood claimed victory in historic presidential polls on Monday, June 18, hours after the ruling military council issued a constitutional document claiming sweeping power. The official results are not expected until June 21, but the party has already made the announcement, which is widely seen as a culmination of a long political struggle for the once-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. The race between Ahmed Shafiq, who was ousted President Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, and Mohammed Mursi, a conservative Islamist, has polarized the nation, as the military generals prepare to define the next president’s authorities in an interim constitutional declaration, which would likely assign legislation and control of the budget to a council of generals, stressing the prospects that the ruling military will still hold most power even after their nominal handover of authority to civilians by July 1. The new president will inherit a struggling economy, deteriorating security and the challenge of uniting a nation divided by the 18-day uprising that toppled Mubarak in February 2011.
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