President Morsi Sworn In But Reaffirms Military’s Powers
Following Friday’s symbolic swearing-in in Tahrir Square, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi took the oath of office Saturday before the Supreme Court. Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi saluted President Morsi on his arrival, and Morsi hailed the day as the fulfillment of a transition to civilian power. In his speech, the President also expressed gratitude for the military’s role in the revolution, and promised to grant them the necessary powers to bring security back to Egypt. The Egypt-Israeli peace treaty was also indirectly referenced as the President vowed to honor Egypt’s international treaties.
Meanwhile, an IMF spokesman has confirmed that IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde spoke with Morsi on Thursday about a possible $3.2 billion loan. Lagarde affirmed the IMF’s willingness to support Egypt, but the spokesman said that a potential trip to Egypt to advance talks for such a loan will depend on the make up of Morsi’s cabinet.
A Freedom and Justice Party spokesman also spoke on the composition of the cabinet, saying that the Prime Minister will decide which political forces will be represented. Former diplomat Mohamed ElBaradei has yet to give a final reply to the offer of Prime Minister, but the spokesman said other men like economic experts Hazem al-Beblawy and Hamdy Suleiman are also under consideration.
Additionally, in his first interview since the election, Ahmed Shafiq admitted he had not expected Morsi to win, but called the President’s speech in Tahrir Square on Friday “enthusiastic and emotional.” Shafiq also expressed concern for maintaining a civilian state, but expects the Brotherhood to try to form a religious state.
Also, Joshua Stacher writing in The New York Times calls today’s inauguration “the latest grand spectacle manufactured by the military.” Stacher argues that President Morsi will now become merely the focal point for popular blame while the unaccountable military will still be calling the shots.