Egyptian military authorities must cede power to the winner of the country's first post-Mubarak presidential elections, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insisted Wednesday.
"We think that it is imperative that the military fulfill its promise to the Egyptian people to turn power over to the legitimate winner," Clinton said in a discussion hosted at the State Department.
Some of the actions by the military leadership in past days were "clearly troubling," Clinton said, sitting with former secretary of state James Baker at the event to support the creation of the first US museum for diplomacy.
"The military has to assume an appropriate role which is not to interfere with, dominate or try to subvert the constitutional authority," she warned.
The Egyptian military-led authorities had been saying "one thing publicly and then backtracking to a certain extent, but our message has been consistent ... they have to follow through on the democratic process," Clinton told the invited audience.
"By that we mean, yes, elections that are free, fair and legitimate whose winner gets to assume a position of authority in the country, but who also recognizes that democracy is not about one election, one time."
There has been political upheaval in Egypt since the country's first presidential elections after long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak stepped aside last year. News that Mubarak was in a coma has created further turmoil.
The Muslim Brotherhood said Monday their candidate, Mohamed Morsi, had won the runoff, and on Tuesday provided what they said were certified copies of ballot tallies to bolster their claims.
But Morsi's rival Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's last prime minister, has also claimed victory, with his campaign accusing the Brotherhood of issuing false figures.
The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has meanwhile granted itself sweeping powers, and put the release of the election results due Thursday on hold.
Clinton insisted that the fledgling democracy trying to emerge in Egypt had "to be an inclusive democratic process, the rights of all Egyptians, women and men, Muslims and Christians, everyone has to be respected."