Egypt’s First Civilian President To Take Oath Of Office

Egypt is swearing in its first civilian president today. Al-Ahram reports the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi has arrived before the Constitutional Court.

Morsi pre-empted the official swearing-in ceremony by appearing before thousands of supporters in Tahrir Square Friday and taking a symbolic oath.

Military generals have been holding on to power since former President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in February 2011. They called for Morsi to take the oath of office in front of Mubarak-appointed judges on Egypt’s highest court. Initially, the Brotherhood and protesters pushed back, The New York Times says.

“But on Friday it became clear that Mr. Morsi had agreed to take his formal oath in front of the court Saturday morning and that his Tahrir Square speech was in part an effort to distract from that agreement.”

The location of the official ceremony wasn’t the only recent show of authority by the military. Earlier this month, a declaration was passed to push many presidential powers to the military. The Nation says “the Supreme Council of Armed Forces has assumed near-full control of all of the key branches of state.”

Morsi tried to assert his power Friday, The Associated Press reports, with a “strongly worded speech [that] was a show of defiance as he gears up to power struggle with the country’s ruling generals.”

As he takes office, the new president will not have a parliament. Egypt’s highest court ruled to dissolve the popularly elected parliament, we reported, which the Brotherhood had dominated. The move came less than a week before the presidential runoff election last weekend.

Morsi won the election against Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister under Mubarak. Samer Shehata, an assistant professor of Arab politics at Georgetown University, told NPR’s Guy Raz Morsi’s victory meant the “revolution continues.”

“It also means that the old regime candidate is not at the helm, and the revolution has not been issued a death certificate.”

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