Egypt’s first democratically elected president addressed tens of thousands at Cairo’s Tahrir Square, promising to respect the country’s revolution. Mohamed Morsi, however, still faces de facto military rule.
Morsi, an Islamist who won the post in a runoff, addressed tens of thousands in the square, the birthplace of the revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak in 2011. He promised a civilian state and praised "the square of the revolution, the square of freedom," in what he called an address to "the free world, Arabs, Muslims ... the Muslims of Egypt, Christians of Egypt."
The Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi resigned after winning the presidency, had called for a huge demonstration in Tahrir Square under the slogan "Day of the transfer of power." After taking the oath, Morsi will still have to contend with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which will retain broad powers. Many in the crowd had come less to celebrate the president than to protest the military’s continued presence in political affairs.
Traditionally, the president takes the oath in parliament, but Egypt’s top court has ordered the disbanding of the Islamist-dominated legislature. The military subsequently assumed legislative powers and also formed a powerful national security council headed by the president but dominated by generals.
By agreeing to be sworn in by the Constitutional Court, Morsi is effectively acknowledging the court's decision to dissolve parliament. Morsi did manage a swipe at the military, however, taking an informal and unofficial oath in Tahrir Square: "There is no power above people power," he declared to wild cheers from the crowd.
mkg/mz (AFP, Reuters, dpa)