Mohammed Mursi ran against his army-backed rival, Ahmed Shafik, to win the election and become Egypt’s fifth president. The tense atmosphere that marked the run-up to the election was replaced with joy with the announcement of the results. Carrying flags, thousands of people flocked to Tahrir Square, the city center that had also served as the focal point of the revolution that started this all.
As for the Egyptian military council, which shouldered significant duties during the transition period, it wound up increasing its own influence over the governing of Egypt. The youth that composed the mass of the revolutionaries pushed for immediate and democratic elections, staking out temporary dwellings in Tahrir Square to underscore their demands.
In clashes that broke out last November during this period, more than 300 youths lost their lives. With pressures increasing from all sides, the military council announced that the presidential elections would be held in June. But one week before the elections, the Egyptian Constitutional Court declared the dissolution of the Egyptian parliament. The military council, resisting pressure to remove its hand from the direction of the elections, released an announcement after the first democratic presidential elections, letting it be known that the authorities wielded by the elected president had been narrowed. And so, before the results from the elections were even known, the military was on the move.
In response, thousands of Egyptians, led by the Muslim Brotherhood, flooded into Tahrir Square once again. People set up tents in the city center, demanding that the military take a step back and that parliament be opened up again.
In an atmosphere of extreme tension, Egyptians thus headed to the ballot boxes, casting their votes in favor of democracy. While many youth boycotted these elections, the middle-aged and older voters did not. And then began the tense wait in Tahrir Square. The prayers rising up from the square almost seemed to challenge the slow-passing minutes. Protests were marked by cries of “Allahu Akbar,” and millions waited for even a single sentence of confirmation from the election board. The head of the Egyptian Election Committee, Faruk Sultan, made a very long speech, at the end of which came the words people had been waiting for.
And so Tahrir Square was now turned into a center of celebrations. Prostrations, prayers and tears were all witnessed. There were endless demonstrations of pure joy and love. Thousands of Egyptians flooded from the city center into the streets of Cairo, celebrating democracy through the morning hours.
For the first time in its history, Egypt was witnessing the will of the people actually gaining a voice. And with this as a backdrop, Mursi, a leader within the Muslim Brotherhood, was to become the first civilian president in Egyptian history to take his place in the Egyptian presidential palace.