Mursi supporters in Cairo's Tahrir Square
Mursi supporters in Cairo's Tahrir Square Reuters

Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has declared sweeping new powers for itself despite the recent two-day presidential run-off elections. The polls that brought Muslim Brotherhood-backed candidate Mohamed Mursi into power may not yet have the effect Egyptians would have expected.

The country's ruling military council, which had vowed to turn over control of the nation to the newly-elected president once polls were over, instead declared new powers for itself Sunday in a move that appeared to be a soft coup, but one designed to prevent the country from falling into total chaos.

The document states that the Supreme Council retains the power to make laws and budget decisions for Egypt until a new Constitution can be written – which must be accomplished within the next three months -- and a new parliament elected.

The Council also declared that it retains the power to “decide all matters related to military affairs, including the appointment of its leaders,” CNN reported on Monday. In addition, the decree declared the president will be empowered to appoint government officials and ambassadors.

Egypt's new president will have the power to declare war, but only “after the approval of the SCAF.” The president will also have the power to set a date for new parliamentary elections, and have the power to pardon. Last week the High Court issued a ruling that allowed the military council to dissolve the country's Islamist-run parliament.

Likewise, the decree empowered the president to send forth the armed forces to provide general security when there is an internal necessity, such as in the case of the Tahrir Square revolution ignited on January 25, 2011, but only “after receiving the approval of the SCAF.”

The official results of the presidential elections in Egypt are still unclear.

Unofficial electoral results released Monday by the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper indicated that Mursi had won 11.2 million votes. The apparent win compares with 10.3 million won by former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, a remnant from the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak.

Shafiq has not yet conceded, either, as yet; the contender insists that votes have not been tallied in his stronghold districts, which also include portions of the capital, Cairo.