News / Middle East

Egypt's El-Sissi Inaugurated

El-Sissi Becomes Egypt's Eight Presidenti
X
June 08, 2014 6:05 PM
Abdel Fattah el-Sissi was inaugurated Sunday as Egypt's eighth president, less than a year after he helped oust the country's first freely elected leader, Islamist Mohamed Morsi. Edward Yeranian reports for VOA from Cairo.

Watch related video by VOA's Elizabeth Arrott

Edward Yeranian
— Abdel Fattah el-Sissi was inaugurated Sunday as Egypt's eighth president, less than a year after he helped oust the country's first freely elected leader, Islamist Mohamed Morsi.

Last month's election, which officials said Sissi won with 97 percent of the vote, followed three years of upheaval since a popular uprising ended 30 years of rule by former air force commander Hosni Mubarak.
 
Sissi took the oath of office Sunday at Egypt's Supreme Court, as the country's top justices, government officials and foreign dignitaries looked on. He will serve a four-year term.

Security in Cairo was extra tight, with armored personnel carriers and tanks positioned in strategic locations as Sissi, 59, spoke to foreign dignitaries after a 21-gun salute at Cairo's main presidential palace.

He called for hard work and the development of freedom “in a responsible framework away from chaos” but did not mention human rights or democracy.
 
“The time has come to build a more stable future,” said Sissi, the sixth Egyptian leader with a military background. “Let us work to establish the values of rightness and peace.”

Check snapshots of celebrations at Cairo's Tahrir Square:
 
  • Celebrations Sunday evening in Cairo's Tahrir Square of Abdel Fattah el-Sissi's inauguration as Egypt's new president. Courtesy - Hamada Elrasam.
  • Celebrations Sunday evening in Cairo's Tahrir Square of Abdel Fattah el-Sissi's inauguration as Egypt's new president. Courtesy - Hamada Elrasam.
  • Celebrations Sunday evening in Cairo's Tahrir Square of Abdel Fattah el-Sissi's inauguration as Egypt's new president. Courtesy - Hamada Elrasam.
  • Celebrations Sunday evening in Cairo's Tahrir Square of Abdel Fattah el-Sissi's inauguration as Egypt's new president. Courtesy - Hamada Elrasam.
  • Celebrations Sunday evening in Cairo's Tahrir Square of Abdel Fattah el-Sissi's inauguration as Egypt's new president. Courtesy - Hamada Elrasam.
  • Celebrations Sunday evening in Cairo's Tahrir Square of Abdel Fattah el-Sissi's inauguration as Egypt's new president. Courtesy - Hamada Elrasam.
  • Celebrations Sunday evening in Cairo's Tahrir Square of Abdel Fattah el-Sissi's inauguration as Egypt's new president. Courtesy - Hamada Elrasam.
  • Celebrations Sunday evening in Cairo's Tahrir Square of Abdel Fattah el-Sissi's inauguration as Egypt's new president. Courtesy - Hamada Elrasam.
  • Celebrations Sunday evening in Cairo's Tahrir Square of Abdel Fattah el-Sissi's inauguration as Egypt's new president. Courtesy - Hamada Elrasam.
  • Celebrations Sunday evening in Cairo's Tahrir Square of Abdel Fattah el-Sissi's inauguration as Egypt's new president. Courtesy - Hamada Elrasam.
  • Celebrations Sunday evening in Cairo's Tahrir Square of Abdel Fattah el-Sissi's inauguration as Egypt's new president. Courtesy - Hamada Elrasam.
  • Celebrations Sunday evening in Cairo's Tahrir Square of Abdel Fattah el-Sissi's inauguration as Egypt's new president. Courtesy - Hamada Elrasam.
 
Deputy Supreme Court Chief Justice Maher Samy, who presided over the ceremony, asked that God spare Egypt from further woes, saying that too much blood has been spilled during three years of political upheaval. He went on to argue that a popular revolution, rather than a military “coup” swept Morsi from office last July.

Egypt's constitution specifies that a new president be sworn in before the country's parliament, but the absence of a popularly elected assembly forced the alteration of normal procedure. Elections for a new parliament are expected to take place by mid-July, as Egypt tries to restore normal democratic institutions.

Dignitaries at ceremony

Top Arab leaders, including King Abdullah of Jordan, the Emir of Kuwait, the King of Bahrain, Saudi Crown Prince Salman and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi were welcomed by an honor guard at the presidential palace after the ceremony. Both the U.S. and the EU sent mid-level delegations, while the leaders of Turkey and Qatar, with whom relations are strained, were not invited.

Political sociologist Said Sadek argued on Sky News Arabia that the “recognition of Egypt's new leader by the international community is expected to help restore stability to the country.”

He added that the “economy is also likely to get a boost from the return to normal political institutions.”

Sunday was declared an official holiday for the swearing in ceremonies and the streets of the capital Cairo were mostly empty. Security was tight and military checkpoints had been set up on strategic bridges and thoroughfares.

Egyptian officials also appeared to be closed-lipped about exact details of where and when celebrations would take place in the afternoon, although crowds are expected to gather in Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square later in the day for popular celebrations.
 
Army helicopters dropped pictures of Sissi in parts of the capital, while supporters of Egypt's new leader cheered and danced to celebrate.
 
Supporters of Egyptian president-elect Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi chant slogans in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo, Egypt, June 8, 2014.Supporters of Egyptian president-elect Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi chant slogans in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo, Egypt, June 8, 2014.
x
Supporters of Egyptian president-elect Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi chant slogans in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo, Egypt, June 8, 2014.
Supporters of Egyptian president-elect Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi chant slogans in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo, Egypt, June 8, 2014.

A large crowd began to gather by late afternoon in Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square for an official celebration with music and fireworks. Small, scattered protests by supporters of ousted President Morsi were also reported in parts of the country.
 
Commentators on state and private media heaped praise on him, turning a blind eye to what human rights groups said are widespread abuses, in the hope that he can deliver stability and rescue the economy.
 
Many Egyptians share that hope, but they have limited patience, staging street protests that toppled two leaders in the past three years, and the election turnout of just 47 percent shows Sissi is not as popular as when he toppled Morsi.
 
“Sissi has to do something in his first 100 days, people will watch closely and there might be another revolution. That's what people are like in this country,” said theology student Israa Youssef, 21.

Challenges ahead

Sissi faces the daunting tasks of reviving Egypt's stagnant economy, fighting Islamic extremists and cementing his rule after years of turmoil in the Arab world's most populous country.

The economy is suffering from corruption, bureaucracy and a widening budget deficit aggravated by fuel subsidies that cost nearly $19 billion a year.
 
Officials forecast economic growth at just 3.2 percent in the fiscal year that begins July 1, well below levels needed to create enough jobs for a rapidly growing population and ease widespread poverty.
 
And poverty is just one of the challenges facing Sissi. He is likely to face the same protracted challenge from Islamists as his predecessors.

"The presidency of Egypt is a great honor and a huge responsibility," Sissi told local and foreign dignitaries gathered at an opulent Cairo palace hours after his swearing-in ceremony.

Under his rule, Sissi said, Egypt will work for regional security and stability. He also called on Egyptians to build a more stable future after three turbulent years, asking them to work hard so that their rights and freedoms could grow.

"It is time for us to build a future that is more stable and pen a new reality for the future of this nation," he said.

Hard work, something that he has repeatedly called for in recent weeks, will allow Egyptians to "pay attention to rights and freedoms (to) deepen and develop them," he said.

"Let us differ for the sake of our nation and not over it; let us do that as part of a unifying national march in which every party listens to the other objectively and without ulterior motives," he said.

Democratic process
 
Western countries, who hoped the overthrow of Mubarak in 2011 would usher in a new era of democracy, have watched Egypt's political transition stumble.
 
Morsi was the country's first freely elected president, but his year in power was tarnished by accusations that he usurped power, imposed the Brotherhood's views on Islam and mismanaged the economy, allegations he denied.
 
After Sissi deposed him and became Egypt's de facto ruler, security forces mounted one of the toughest crackdowns on the Brotherhood in its 86-year history. Hundreds were killed in street protests and thousands of others jailed.
 
Secular activists were eventually thrown into jail, too, even those who supported Morsi's fall, because they violated a new law that severely restricts protests.
 
Morsi's ouster was applauded by Egypt's Gulf Arab allies, who were alarmed by the rise of the Brotherhood, the international standard-bearer of mainstream Sunni political Islam.
 
The movement, which won nearly every election in Egypt since Mubarak's fall, is seen as a threat to Gulf dynasties.
 
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait extended a lifeline exceeding $12 billion in cash and petroleum products to help Egypt stave off economic collapse after Sissi appeared on television and announced that the Brotherhood was finished.
 
Morsi's Islamist backers - thousands of whom have been jailed since his ouster - accuse Sissi of crushing Egypt's infant democracy. Many of the secular youths behind the 2011 uprising said he has revived Mubarak's police state, pointing to a law passed last year that restricts protests as well as the jailing of a number of well-known activists.

In interviews, Sissi made it clear that his priorities are security and the economy, maintaining that free speech must take a back seat while he fights Islamic militants and works to revive the ailing economy.

But while many support Sissi's fight against the militancy, his plans for the economy have generated less enthusiasm. He has advocated heavy government involvement in the economy, with state-sponsored mega-projects to create jobs and the government setting prices for some goods. At the same time, he has vowed to be business-friendly and encourage investment.

He has spoken of reshaping the map of Egypt by expanding Nile provinces into the desert to make way for development outside the densely populated river valley. His answer for funding his projects is billions of dollars from oil-rich Gulf nations and Egyptian expatriates. 

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: harry from: australia
June 08, 2014 9:04 PM
Back to square one.After a revolution and a democratically elected government its back to the same track as the one that led to Hosni Mubarak.Looks like true democracy will never work in the Arab World.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid