Islamist Wins Egyptian Presidency, Apparently Backs Peace Treaty with Israel

The candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood was declared the winner of the Egyptian presidential elections on Sunday, while the exact powers of the presidential position remained unclear. Israel, meanwhile, accepted the election results while encouraging Egypt to maintain the peace treaty between the two nations.

According to Al Jazeera, Mohamed Morsi won the run-off election with 51.7 percent of the eligible ballots. Former-President Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafik, captured 48.3 percent of the vote.

Al Jazeera noted that despite the win, it has not yet been revealed exactly what powers Morsi will have and which will be retained by the governing military council. The Muslim Brotherhood, according to sources cited by Al Jazeera, have held negotiations with the military council on what role will be played by the presidency.

Egypt had some political turmoil in recent days as the nation’s supreme court invalidated the previous legislative election, which had seen a number of seats won by the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party. The decision cast a cloud of uncertainty over the government and raised questions about the military council’s intentions to leave power.

Israel Reacts

That isn’t the only question facing Egypt. The decades-old peace treaty with Israel—signed in 1979 after the two countries had fought multiple wars—will also be a matter of concern. The Muslim Brotherhood has historical and ideological links to the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza.

Despite that, Al Jazeera speculated the peace treaty with Israel was on Morsi’s mind when he said on state television that he would “keep all international treaties.”

On Sunday, Israel reacted tactfully to Morsi’s victory, while expressing hope the treaty would remain intact.

“Israel appreciates the democratic process in Egypt and respects the results of the presidential elections,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. “Israel looks forward to continuing cooperation with the Egyptian government on the basis of the peace treaty between the two countries, which is a joint interest of both peoples and contributes to regional stability.”

Egypt has significant diplomatic reasons for maintaining the treaty, including the large amount of funding they receive from the United States on the basis of the accord.

(By Staff,, June 23, 2012)