The Egyptian press on Monday hailed the victory of the country’s “first civilian president,” the Islamist Mohamed Mursi, with some newspapers saying that the “revolution” that toppled Hosni Mubarak had defeated the holdovers of the old regime.
Mursi won 51.7 percent of the vote in a hotly disputed election to defeat his rival Ahmed Shafiq, who served as Mubarak's last premier before a popular uprising overthrew the strongman early last year.
A senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood who severed his affiliation with the movement after he was proclaimed the winner on Sunday, Mursi is the first Islamist to lead the Arab world’s most populous nation and also its first president not to rise from the ranks of the military.
“Mursi is the first civilian president of Egypt,” trumpeted the headline in the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm, with the government's flagship Al-Ahram daily running a similar frontpage headline.
The military which took charge after Mubarak’s ouster is due to hand over to Mursi by the end of the month, although it will retain sweeping powers.
“The revolution arrives at the presidential palace,” the independent Al-Shorouk newspaper announced on its front page.
Al-Tahrir, an independent newspaper that is critical of the country’s military rulers, said: “What is important is that this is the first president not from the military, and he has defeated Mubarak’s last descendants.”
Mursi’s campaign had described him as the “revolution’s candidate” and he had reached out to pro-democracy activists who were suspicious of the Brotherhood’s cooperation with the military after Mubarak’s overthrow.
“The winner in the election is not Mohamed Mursi, nor the Brotherhood and their Freedom and Justice Party. The winner is Tahrir Square, the winners are the martyrs and wounded,” wrote a columnist in Al-Shorouk, referring to the iconic Cairo plaza that was the epicenter of last year’s uprising.
The newspaper welcomed the president-elect but asked him to choose a prime minister and vice presidents who are not Brotherhood members, and to extend his hand to Christians, roughly 10 percent of the country's 82 million people.
Al-Ahram, a stalwart defender of the Mubarak regime until its overthrow, welcomed the new president and presented itself as the “people’s newspaper.”
“We say, with overflowing hope, that Egypt will witness with him days full of justice, democracy, equality, forgiveness and national reconciliation,” it said in an editorial.