Former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was sworn in as Egypt’s new president on Sunday, almost a year after he overthrew the country’s first democratically-elected leader, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi.
The swearing-in ceremony was held at Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court in the capital, Cairo. Around a hundred Sisi supporters gathered outside the building, modelled to look like an ancient Egyptian temple, waving Egyptian flags and posters of the country’s new president.
Sisi was elected president during a May 26-28 election, after winning 96.91 percent of the vote. Turnout, however, was lower than expected with only 47 percent of the country’s 54 million voters taking part in the ballot.
The 59-year-old became Egypt's most popular political figure and de facto head of state after he deposed Morsi on July 3, following massive protests against his leadership.
Since then, a fierce crackdown on the former president’s Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement has claimed the lives of hundreds of people and left thousands more in jail.
Sisi's main challenges will be to restore stability and revive the economy after three years of turmoil, following a 2011 uprising that ousted the country’s longtime leader, Hosni Mubarak.
The retired army general called on Egyptians to "work to return security to this nation," in a television address after his victory was officially announced on Tuesday.
"The future is a blank page, and it is in our hands to fill with what we want... bread, freedom, human dignity, social justice," he said.
But Sisi's opponents fear that under his rule, Egypt will return to an autocratic regime worse than under Mubarak.
In the run-up to the election, Sisi said that "national security" takes precedence over democratic freedoms.
He will be the fifth Egyptian president to rise from the ranks of the military and is expected to reassert the army's grip on politics.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Date created : 2014-06-08