The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi has been declared the winner of Egypt’s presidential election run-off.
He won 51.73% of the vote, beating former PM Ahmed Shafiq, the Higher Presidential Election Commission said.
The White House congratulated Mr Mursi and the Egyptian people for “this milestone in their transition to democracy”.
There have been scenes of jubilation in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where Mr Mursi’s supporters gathered.
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Magdi Abdelhadi Middle East analyst
The Islamists’ rise to power in Egypt will send shockwaves through the courts and palaces of conservative Arab kings and presidents who have tried for decades to put the lid on political Islam.
But foremost among Egypt’s neighbours who watched the brotherhood’s success with increasing alarm is Israel.
Cairo was the first Arab state to sign a peace treaty with Israel and the brotherhood has traditionally been vehemently opposed to that.
But its opposition has softened over the years – at least publicly.
It is widely believed that the Muslim Brotherhood have reassured Washington that an Islamist government in Egypt would respect the peace deal with Israel.
Given also that the ruling military council will continue to have the final say on matters of war and peace, it is unlikely that the brotherhood can put that peace at risk.
It is also more likely that Mr Mursi’s immediate priority will be to concentrate on Egypt’s many daunting domestic problems including rampant poverty and unemployment.
They have been holding a vigil there for days in protest at a series of decrees by the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) which they say are designed to reduce or constrain the power of the president, and entrench the power of the military.
As night fell, tens of thousands continued to throng Tahrir Square. Mr Mursi was due to address the nation in his first speech after being declared president.
“Down with military rule” his supporters chanted amid wild cheering and explosions of fireworks after the result was announced
Across Cairo, cars sounded their horns amid crowds chanting “Mursi, Mursi”.
Supporters of Mr Shafiq, who had been holding a rally in the capital’s northern suburb of Nasser City, were stunned by the result.
There was screaming and crying and people were seen holding their heads in despair.
The BBC’s Kevin Connolly in Cairo says Mr Mursi’s victory is a moment of profound change for Egypt.
The Muslim Brotherhood that has seen many of its members put in prison, now has one of its leaders being sent instead to the presidential palace, he says.
Security had been tight for the announcement, with tanks and troops deployed around the election commission’s headquarters.
Egypt’s military ruler, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, congratulated Mr Mursi on his victory, state-run Nile News TV reported.
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague also congratulated Mr Mursi, saying it marked “an historic moment for Egypt”.
A White House statement said: “We believe it is essential for the Egyptian government to continue to fulfil Egypt’s role as a pillar of regional peace, security and stability.
Mohammed Mursi Aged 60, married with four children
Comes from a village in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya
US-educated engineering professor; teaches at Zagazig University
Rose through the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood
Has been praised for his oratory as an MP
After toppling of Hosni Mubarak, he became chairman of Brotherhood’s FJP party
Profile: Mohammed Mursi
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped the long-standing peace treaty between the two countries would continue.
Hours after the result, Mr Mursi resigned from his positions within the Muslim Brotherhood including his role as chairman of its Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) as he had pledged to do in the event of his victory.
Mr Mursi has promised that his leadership will be inclusive, and has courted secular and Christian voters.
Earlier, the head of the Higher Presidential Election Commission, Farouq Sultan, began the news conference by saying the declaration of the result had been “marred by tension and a bad atmosphere”.
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