Egypt’s Mohammed Mursi, the first Islamist to be elected to the Presidency, said on Sunday he will be a leader “for all Egyptians” and called for national unity after a polarizing race.
Mursi, a 60-year-old engineer who studied in California, was jailed for his politics by Mubarak's secret police.
“I will be a President for all Egyptians,” Mursi said just hours after he was declared President following a deeply divisive race against Ahmed Shafiq, the last Premier to serve under ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
“I call on you, great people of Egypt ... to strengthen our national unity,” he said, adding that national unity “is the only way out of these difficult times.”
Mursi won 51.73% of the vote, with 13,230,131 ballots.
Mursi, who resigned from the Muslim Brotherhood to take the top job, thanked the “martyrs” of the uprising for the victory and stressed “the revolution continues.”
Mursi vowed to honor international treaties. “We will preserve all international treaties and charters ... we come in peace,” he said.
Egypt is one of only two Arab countries -- the other is Jordan -- to have made peace with the Jewish state. The Egypt-Israel peace treaty was signed in 1979.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country respects the democratic election of Mursi as Egypt’s President and wants to cooperate with his future government in Cairo.
The United States, which provides vast military aid to Egypt, welcomed the Egyptian result but made it clear it expected Mursi to ensure stability and not to veer to extremes.
Mursi’s win is likely to usher in an era of cooler ties between Cairo and Washington, after decades of close cooperation between the United States and Mubarak on counter-terrorism, Iran and other regional concerns.
In contrast, the Brotherhood and Washington have long disagreed on Iran, U.S. military presence and counter-terrorism operations in the region, and particularly on Israel.
US President Barack Obama called Mursi on Sunday to congratulate him on his victory.
“It is important for President-elect Mursi to take steps at this historic time to advance national unity by reaching out to all parties and constituencies in consultations about the formation of a new government,” the White House said.
The British and French governments echoed that sentiment.
Shafiq, a former Air Force Commander and Mubarak's last Prime Minister, offered his congratulations and said he was willing to serve in Mursi's administration if asked.
Source: Reuters; Al Arabiya – Photo: AP