Newly elected Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi has started consultations to form a government after he was declared the winner of the June 16-17 presidential election on Sunday.
The new Egyptian president has moved into the office once occupied by ousted leader Hosni Mubarak and has started consultations on forming a new administration, according to a government spokesman.
On Sunday, Morsi, of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, vowed to be "a president of all Egyptians" after he was declared the winner of the presidential runoff vote that again showed deep splits among voters in terms of secular and religious orientations.
Egypt's election commission said Morsi won 51.7 percent of the vote, a margin of only 800,000 votes over Ahmed Shafiq, a former air force colonel who was perceived to be the favorite of the military council. It took over early last year when Mubarak was ousted during a public uprising seen as part of the so-called Arab Spring.
The victory by Morsi, a US-trained Egyptian engineer, breaks with a tradition of domination by the armed forces, which had provided backing for every Egyptian leader since the overthrow of the monarchy 60 years ago.
At present, the Egyptian army is effectively in charge of the country. Morsi is not Egypt's commander-in-chief; he is not in control of the budget or the writing of a new constitution. There is no parliament to support or oppose his democratic mandate.
Improving ties with Iran
In an interview with Iran's Fars news agency, which was published on Monday, Morsi stressed that expanding diplomatic ties with Iran was high on his foreign policy agenda.
He said closer bilateral relations would create "an effective strategic balance" in the region. Iran congratulated Morsi on Sunday, praising "the martyrs of the [Egyptian] revolution."
Iran and Egypt have had no diplomatic ties since shortly after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution because of Egypt's peace treaty with Israel, but the two governments cooperate on diplomatic affairs at a non-ambassador level.
Morsi told Fars that "we will reconsider the Camp David Accord," referring the treaty between Israel and Egypt.
West hopes for democratic course
On Sunday, other international leaders also reacted to Morsi's election, with a clear message that democracy is the way to go in Egypt.
Israel said it respected Morsi's victory and that it was ready to cooperate with any new administration based on the pioneering peace treaty between the two countries.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton encouraged Morsi "to reach out to all other political and social groups."
At a meeting of foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said that "it is about continuing the process of democratic transformation." He welcomed Morsi's pledge to be a president for all Egyptians. "That is very significant," he said.
His UK counterpart William Hague also urged Egypt to follow "a transparent, democratic process."
On Sunday, US President Barack Obama congratulated Morsi by telephone. The White House said that "the president underscored that the United States will continue to support Egypt's transition to democracy and stand by the Egyptian people as they fulfil the promise of their revolution."
ng/ipj (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)