Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood To Stage Protests Against Military Council's Powers

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood are planning protests across the country after the ruling military council granted itself all-pervasive new powers, a move which the Islamist party described as a "military coup."

The new decrees issued by Supreme Council of Armed Forces (Scaf) allow the military total control over the country's legislation, army and budget. Scaf also insist that new parliamentary elections cannot be held until a constitution is agreed.

Anxiety over the possibility that the military was reluctant to hand power over to the elected president was already brewing after the Supreme Court dissolved parliament last week.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement on Tuesday that he was concerned by recent announcements of "the dissolution of parliament and the reintroduction of powers of arrest and detention for the military.

"The process of drafting a new, inclusive constitution and the holding of new parliamentary elections should be taken forward as soon as possible" he added.

Similarly Washington aired its "deep concern" over the developments and called on the army to hand over "full power" to civilians.

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood party announced on Monday that its candidate Mohammed Morsi won the presidential elections in the nation's first vote since the uprising 17 months ago.

Celebrations following the announcement were witnessed in Cairo

The declaration of victory for the Islamist leader, was projected ahead of the official announcement, which is expected on Thursday 21 June.

Scenes of jubilation were witnessed from Morsi supporters in Tahir Square, the focal point of last year's uprising, with

some members of the crowd chanting: "Down, down with military rule", reports AP

Presidential candidates Ahmed Shafiq (left) and Mohammed Morsi (right)

However opposition candidate Ahmed Shafiq rejected the Muslim Brotherhood's declaration, with one campaign official telling AFP that they were "astonished by this bizarre behaviour, which amounts to a hijacking of the election results."

According to the BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo, Scaf are already acting as if Morsi, who served as Prime Minister under deposed leader Hosni Mubarack, will win.

According to Bel Trew, a freelance journalist working in Cairo, Morsi addressed both Christian and Muslims and promised to be a “brother and servant to all Egyptians” and to “build a democratic and modern state with a constitution”.

Speaking to the Huffington Post UK, Trew said those celebrating in Tahrir were brandishing campaign posters and Egyptian flags, and chanted: “The people have removed the regime” and “Leave, leave [Egypt’s de facto leader] Field Marshal Tantawi”.

On Monday, Egypt's official news agency reported that Major General Mohammed al-Assara, a senior member of Scaf, said that the military council will hand over power to the new president at the end of June.

Morsi supporters cheering after hearing the projected results

However as Morsi supporters prepare to take part in a "million man march" the possibility of a showdown between the military council and the incoming president seeming increasingly likely. A satirical headline in independent newspaper al-Masry al-Youm read "Military Transfers Power - to Military," reports Reuters, scorning any official announcement by the Scaf.

The reality is that whoever wins, the new leader will be forced to work under the military council who have imposed restrictions on presidential power, leading some commentators to declare that the election has been hijacked by a military coup. On Twitter, former UN diplomat Mohamed ElBaradei described the move as a "setback for democracy".