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Military guards power as Islamists claim victory in Egypt

Suhaib Salem / Reuters

A supporter of Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate Mohamed Morsi kisses his picture as he celebrates in Cairo, June 18. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood declared on Monday that its candidate won the country's first free presidential race, beating Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister and ending six decades of rule by presidents plucked from the military.

Turnout, which was only 46 percent in the first round of the presidential vote, appeared to electoral officials to have been no higher for the decisive head-to-head contest. Many of the 50 million eligible voters were dismayed by an unpalatable choice between a man seen as an heir to Mubarak and the nominee of a religious party committed to reversing liberal social traditions. Some cast a ballot against both men in protest.

In a victory speech at his campaign headquarters, Morsi clearly sought to assuage the fears of the large sector of Egyptians that the Brotherhood will try to impose stricter provisions of Islamic law.

-- Reported by msnbc.com news services and staff

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Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images

Egyptian election workers count votes at a polling station, June 17.

Suhaib Salem / Reuters

A woman votes at a polling station in Cairo, June 17.