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Morsi sworn in as Egypt's first civilian president

Latest update : 01/07/2012

Article text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

The Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi was sworn in as Egypt’s first civilian president on Saturday, vowing to respect Egypt’s standing international agreements while pledging support for the “legitimate rights” of Palestinians.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi took the oath of office on Saturday to become Egypt's first freely elected leader and its first head of state since Hosni Mubarak's overthrow last year.

"I swear by the Almighty God to sincerely preserve the republican order and to respect the constitution and law, and completely care for the people's interest," he said at the ceremony in the Constitutional Court.

The Islamist, in a suit and burgundy tie, promised to lead a "civil, constitutional and modern state" in a short speech after taking the oath.

Morsi, the winner of a June 16-17 election run-off, was forced to take his oath at the court instead of in parliament after the military disbanded the Islamist-led house following a court order earlier this m

Egyptian president vows to support army


He already symbolically took his oath on Friday before tens of thousands of supporters in Cairo's famed Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the revolt that overthrew Mubarak on February 11, 2011, dramatically pushing through security, opening his jacket and showing that he wasn’t wearing a bullet-proof vest.

With this gesture, Mosri “was saying that he was one of the people,” according to FRANCE 24’s Katherine Stapley in Cairo. “He is aiming to be a populist president.”

After the swearing in ceremony, Morsi headed to Cairo University to give his first presidential address.

He began by heaping praise on the army, whose stewardship of the country since last year’s uprising has been bitterly divisive, referring to it as Egypt’s “sword and shield”.

Morsi also sent an implicit message of reassurance to Israel in his first major address after taking office, he pledges to abide by all treaties. However, he also pledged support for the “legitimate rights” of the Palestinians.

Mosri added that Egypt would support the Palestinians until they "regain all their rights" and called for an end to bloodshed in Syria, in his first presidential address.

"I announce from here that Egypt, its people and presidential institution stand with the Palestinian people until they regain all their rights," said Morsi. "We support the Syrian people. We want the bloodshed to stop," he added.

"We carry a message of peace to the world, accompanied and preceded by a message of right and justice."

The Islamist, who resigned from the Muslim Brotherhood after winning the election this month, had spoken out forcefully in support of Palestinians during his campaign.

The Brotherhood is vehemently opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Asad and supports the uprising against him.

But as president, Morsi is not expected to radically change his country's foreign policy, especially towards Israel.

Kathryn Stapley reports from Cairo

Morsi now faces a struggle with the military that oversaw the transition after Mubarak's ouster and which insists on retaining broad powers.

"I renounce none of the prerogatives of president," he said in his address in Tahrir Square. "You are the source of power and legitimacy," he told his supporters.

"There is no place for anyone or any institution... above this will."

The military has assumed parliament's powers after disbanding it 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 in effect recognised the court's decision to dissolve parliament after the court ruled that a third of the house had been elected illegally.

The military also reserves the right to appoint a new constituent assembly should the one elected by parliament be disbanded by a court decision expected on September 1.

The Muslim Brotherhood insists that only the parliament can appoint the assembly.

Click the box below to read FRANCE 24’s live coverage of Saturday’s events in Cairo.


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