Egypt's president-elect Mohamed Morsi began the selection process for his new government on Monday (June 25th), one day after he was declared winner of the first presidential election since the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak's regime.
Morsi, who resigned from the Muslim Brotherhood to take the country's top job, started moving into the presidential palace and began discussions about potential cabinet appointments, according to Nermine Mohammed Hassan, a campaign spokesperson.
"He has already started with a list of names he is considering," said Hassan. "He says he will announce the cabinet soon."
The military-appointed cabinet offered its resignation on Monday, state media reported, adding that it would assume caretaker responsibilities until Morsi forms a new cabinet.
Morsi defeated former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, garnering 52% of the vote while Shafiq received 48%.
Farouq Sultan, the leader of the electoral commission and president of the Supreme Constitutional Court, said Morsi obtained 13,230,131 votes while Shafiq collected 12,347,380 votes.
Turnout for the June 16-17th run-off election was reported at 51.8%.
The electoral commission's announcement had been delayed because of some 400 appeals filed by both candidates, with officials accepting only a few of the petitions.
During the first round of elections on May 23rd-24th, Morsi won 24% of the vote while Shafik garnered 23%.
Morsi said in a statement after the results were announced that the revolution will continue until all of its goals were achieved.
He also said that Egypt will honour its international treaties, conventions and all previously signed agreements.
"We will establish balanced relationships with all the world powers based on mutual interests and respect," he said. "Egypt is capable of defending itself and warding off any aggression against its territory. At this historical moment, I call on the great Egyptian nation to strengthen national unity and the ties that bind us together and achieve comprehensive national unity."
Shafiq joined the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, in congratulating Morsi on his victory.
Political officials and analysts said it is time for all Egyptians to move to the next stage in the political process.
"All political forces need to respect the will of the people that was expressed at the ballot box regardless of our affiliations and leanings," said Mohammed Anwar al-Sadat, a former MP and the current president of the Reform and Development Party. "This is based on the premise that the elections were based on democratic and fair principles."
Al-Sadat, the nephew of former President Anwar al-Sadat, said the next challenge is to draft a new constitution that balances the state's powers and embraces a democratic rule of law, while also addressing the January 25 revolution's goals to reduce corruption and poverty, in addition to restoring Egypt's role in regional and international diplomacy.
The new president is expected to be sworn-in before the Supreme Constitutional Court, as per a June 17th amendment to the Constitutional Declaration issued by the SCAF. Although no date has been set yet for the ceremony, observers say it will likely happen after he picks his new cabinet.
Initially, Morsi's campaign announced his desire to be sworn-in before parliament but later agreed to hold the ceremony at the court, according to Ahram Online.
The Constitutional Court issued a ruling on June 14th annulling parliament after it concluded that the legislative elections held in November 2011 were unconstitutional.
Constitutional law professor Dr. Atef al-Bana said the amendment restricted the new president's powers in comparison to the level of authority granted to the president in the 1971 constitution.
He told Al-Shorfa, "The current Constitutional Declaration is short-lived and will expire when a new constitution is drafted, which could take up to two months."
Abdul Ghaffar Shukur, a political analyst, said he hopes Morsi will keep his promise and surround himself with competent individuals from all political affiliations and not just those from the Freedom and Justice Party.
The new president should restore order on the streets and ensure stability in the political and economic spheres, Shukur said, adding that Morsi has a historic opportunity to build a modern state founded upon the national interests of all segments of society.
Morsi is the nation's first civilian president without any connection to the military and the fifth president since the country transitioned from a monarchy to a republic in 1952.
Morsi, 60, was born in Adwa in the Eastern Province. His father was a peasant, his mother a housewife and he grew up with five siblings. He is married with five children and three grandchildren.
In 1979, Morsi joined the Muslim Brotherhood and worked in the group's political department. He was first elected to the People's Assembly in 2000, and was re-elected 2005, becoming the official spokesperson for the Brotherhood's parliamentary bloc.
Morsi was detained and imprisoned several times during the Mubarak era, most recently during the January 2011 demonstrations.
Following the revolution, Morsi was appointed president of the Freedom and Justice Party and served as back-up candidate to Khairat al-Shatir, the Muslim Brotherhood's leader, in the event that al-Shatir's candidacy was disqualified. When al-Shatir was prohibited from campaigning, Morsi became the de-facto candidate.
Meanwhile, members of the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters are continuing their sit-in at Tahrir Square. The demonstrators are calling for a complete transfer of authority from the military to Morsi and restoration of the dissolved People's Assembly. They also demand that the assembly charged with writing a new constitution be kept intact.
The Cairo bourse closed with a sharp increase of 7.5% on Monday. The main EGX-30 index surged to 7.59% to 4,482.48 points -- the highest level in more than a year, according to the official Cairo stock exchange website.
The market has been battered as the uprising that overthrew Mubarak on February 11th, 2011, has been followed by a sometimes violent transition.