Morsi takes Egypt helm, military pledges support

Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi began his first full day in office on Sunday, but with his powers sharply circumscribed by the military that has ruled since Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power last year.

After being sworn in as the country's first freely elected civilian president on Saturday, Morsi formally received a transfer of power and pledge of support from the military.

But the 60-year-old's swearing-in ceremony took place at the constitutional court in Cairo, despite Morsi's wish that it take place before the now disbanded Islamist-led parliament.

The military dissolved parliament last month following a court order in what the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi stood down after his election, described as a "soft coup."

In Saturday's handover at Cairo's Hike Step base, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), vowed to support the Islamist Morsi.

"We will stand with the new president, elected by the people," Tantawi said in a speech after an honour guard parade and a helicopter fly-past.

He bestowed upon the new president the highest military honour, "the shield of the armed forces," and Morsi thanked the military, also pledging to support it.

"I accept the transfer of power," Morsi said at the same base where members of the once-banned Brotherhood had faced military trials under Mubarak.

However, the ritual masked a political impasse ripe for future confrontation.

The SCAF assumed legislative powers after it disbanded parliament and also formed a powerful national security council headed by the president but dominated by the generals.

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

The Brotherhood insists that only parliament can appoint the assembly.

After taking the oath of office on Saturday, Morsi in a speech at Cairo University pointedly mentioned the "elected parliament" several times and said the army should resume its normal role.

"The elected institutions will return to fulfilling their roles. And the great military will devote itself to the task of protecting the country," he said.

He also put forward several of his international and domestic objectives, saying he would be a "servant of the people" in a "democratic, modern and constitutional state."

Internationally, he said Egypt would back the Palestinians and he also called for an end to the bloodshed in Syria. Morsi had spoken out forcefully in support of Palestinians during his election campaign.

"I announce from here that Egypt, its people and presidential institution stand with the Palestinian people until they regain all their rights," he said.

The Brotherhood is also vehemently opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and supports the uprising against him, now in its 16th deadly month.

"We support the Syrian people. We want the bloodshed to stop," he said.

Morsi repeated that Cairo would respect its international treaties, in an allusion to Egypt's 1979 peace accord with Israel -- the first Arab nation to make formal peace with the Jewish state.

As president, he is not expected to radically change Egypt's foreign policy, especially towards Israel, in which the military is expected to exercise its clout.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sent a letter to Morsi, urging him to uphold a peace treaty between the two countries, a source told AFP on Sunday.

The letter, first reported by Israeli daily Haaretz on Sunday morning, "stressed Israel's desire to continue cooperation and to strengthen the peace," an Israeli source said on condition of anonymity.

The letter was sent "in the last few days," the source added, with Haaretz reporting that it was delivered to Morsi via the Israeli embassy in Cairo.

On Friday, speaking to tens of thousands of jubilant supporters in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the revolt that ousted Mubarak, Morsi said he would insist on retaining all of the presidency's powers.

"I renounce none of the prerogatives of president," he told the crowd, adding: "You are the source of power and legitimacy."

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

Media reports said Morsi was consulting a cross-section of Egyptian society before appointing a premier and a cabinet made up mostly of technocrats.

He was reported by most dailies as pledging there would be "no Islamisation of state institutions" during his presidency.

Morsi became the Brotherhood's candidate to succeed Mubarak only after its first choice, Khairat El-Shater, was disqualified. He beat Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's last premier, with 51.73 percent of the vote.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel
    Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscars dress stolen from hotel

    The $150,000 pearl-studded, custom-made Calvin Klein dress worn by Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o at this year's Academy Awards has been stolen, police said on Thursday. The gown, embellished with 6,000 natural white pearls, was stolen from Nyong'o's room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, during the day on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in West Hollywood said. "Ms Nyong'o was not in the room at the time of the theft," Deputy John Mitchell …

  • US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians
    US-led strikes on IS after group seizes 220 Christians

    The US-led coalition has carried out air strikes against the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria, where the jihadists have launched a new offensive and kidnapped 220 Assyrian Christians. The raids on Thursday struck areas around the town of Tal Tamr in Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, without giving information on possible casualties. The town remains under the control of Kurdish forces, but at least 10 surrounding villages have been seized by IS, along …

  • 3 Pinays on Forbes power women list
    3 Pinays on Forbes power women list

    Three Filipina executives, who are all daughters of known business tycoons in the country, made it to Forbes’ list of the 50 most powerful businesswomen in Asia. Teresita Sy-Coson, vice chairman of SM Investments and chairman of BDO Universal Bank, was included in the list for the fourth year in a row since its inception. “Under her (Sy-Coson) lead SMIC became the largest listed company on the Philippine Stock Exchange by market cap. Also in the 2015 list is 70-year-old Helen Yuchengco-Dee, …

  • Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts
    Militants abduct more Christians, smash ancient artifacts

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic State militants seized more Christians from their homes in northeastern Syria in the past three days, bringing the total number abducted by the extremist group to over 220, activists said Thursday. …

  • 13 of 15 SAF survivors to leave PNP hospital
    13 of 15 SAF survivors to leave PNP hospital

    Thirteen of the 15 Special Action Force (SAF) policemen who survived the bloody firefight with Muslim rebels in Mamasapano last month are ready to go home after a month of medical treatment, a police official said yesterday. Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr. said the two remaining survivors will have to stay in hospital for further treatment, one of whom has shrapnel embedded near his spine. One of the two SAF commando survivors is still …

  • US sends spy plane to patrol disputed sea
    US sends spy plane to patrol disputed sea

    The United States has deployed its newest and most advanced surveillance aircraft for patrols over the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea. The P-8A Poseidon aircraft completed more than 180 flight hours from Feb. 1 to 21 from Clark Air Base, according to the US Navy’s 7th Fleet. …

  • China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral
    China subs outnumber US fleet – admiral

    China is building some “fairly amazing submarines” and now has more diesel- and nuclear-powered vessels than the United States, a top US Navy admiral told US lawmakers on Wednesday, although he said their quality was inferior. Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy, deputy chief of naval operations for capabilities and resources, told the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee that China was also expanding the geographic areas of operation for its submarines, and their length of …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options