The day Dr. Mohamed Morsi was officially declared Egypt’s new president-elect, U.S. President Barack Obama called to congratulate him on his victory. The White House said Mr. Obama “underscored that the United States will continue to support Egypt’s transition to democracy and stand by the Egyptian people as they fulfill the promise of their revolution.”
President-elect Morsi is the first civilian president of Egypt, and he is the first to be chosen in a free and fair election. He won the election with 51.7 percent of the run-off vote. His opponent, Ahmed Shafik, a former general and former prime minister, received 48.3 percent.
In a statement, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called the election a “milestone” for the Egyptian people in their transition to democracy.
“We look forward to working together with President-elect Morsi and the government he forms, on the basis of mutual respect, to advance the many shared interests between Egypt and the United States,” said Mr. Carney.
“We believe that it is important for President-elect Morsi to take steps at this historic time to advance national unity by reaching out to all parties and constituencies about the formation of a new government. We believe in the importance of the new Egyptian government upholding universal values, and respecting the rights of all Egyptian citizens, including women and religious minorities such as Coptic Christians.”
Mr. Carney also noted that in his first public address to the nation, President-elect Morsi promised that Egypt would uphold its treaty obligations, obligations the United States considers of great import. “We believe it is essential for the Egyptian government to continue to fill Egypt’s role as a pillar of regional peace, security and stability,” said Mr. Carney. “And we will continue to emphasize this message with the new government.”
State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland noted that President-elect Morsi now faces a series of challenges, including issues surrounding the seating of a constitutional assembly that can write a constitution and get to a democratically elected parliament.
“It’s going to be challenging,” said Ms. Nuland, “and Egypt is going to need our support; it’s going to need the international community’s support. But all of these steps and all of the actors need to be true to the spirit and the values that spurred Egypt to this point.”