The Muslim Brotherhood declared early today that its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, won Egypt's presidential election, even as the military handed itself the lion's share of power over the new president, enshrining its hold on the state and sharpening the possibility of confrontation with the Islamists.
With parliament dissolved and martial law effectively in force, the generals made themselves the country's lawmakers, gave themselves control over the budget, and will determine who writes the permanent constitution that will define the country's future.
But as they claimed victory over Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, in the election, the Brotherhood warned that it did not recognize the dissolution of parliament or the military's interim constitution -- or its right to oversee the drafting of a new one.
That pointed to a potential struggle over spheres of authority between Egypt's two strongest forces.
Final official results are not expected until Thursday. The Brotherhood's declaration was based on results announced by election officials at individual counting centers, where each campaign has representatives who compile the numbers and make them public before the formal announcement.
The group said Morsi took 51.8 percent of the vote to Shafiq's 48.1 percent out of 24.6 million votes cast, with 98 percent of the more than 13,000 poll centers counted.
Just before the election, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has ruled since Mubarak's fall, slapped de facto martial law on the country, giving military police and intelligence agents the right to arrest civilians for a host of suspected crimes, some as secondary as obstructing traffic. Then came Thursday's ruling by the Supreme Constitutional Court dissolving parliament, followed by the interim constitution declaration just after polls closed Sunday following two days of voting.
According to a copy of the document obtained by the Associated Press, the generals would be the nation's legislators and control the budget. They also will name the 100-member panel tasked with drafting a new constitution, thus ensuring the new charter would guarantee them a say in key policies like defense and national security as well as shield their vast economic empire from civilian scrutiny.
The president will be able to appoint a Cabinet and approve or reject laws.