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MIDEAST > Morsi to speak from Tahrir on 'rebirth of Egypt'

CAIRO - Agence France-Presse

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A handout picture released by the Egyptian Presidency shows president-elect Mohamed Morsi (C) meeting with leaders of Egyptian political parties, in Cairo, Egypt, 28 June 2012. EPa Photo

A handout picture released by the Egyptian Presidency shows president-elect Mohamed Morsi (C) meeting with leaders of Egyptian political parties, in Cairo, Egypt, 28 June 2012. EPa Photo

Egypt's Islamist president-elect Mohamed Morsi prepared to address the nation from Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square today, a day before his swearing-in for a difficult cohabitation with the military.
 
Morsi "is taking part in the march of a million Egyptians ... at Tahrir Square and across the country," the official news agency MENA cited spokesman Yasser Ali as saying, adding that he would "make a speech to the great Egyptian people".
 
Ali said Morsi will speak about "efforts to launch his programme for the rebirth of Egypt." The Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi resigned after winning the presidency, has called for a huge demonstration on Friday in Tahrir Square under the slogan: "Day of the transfer of power." The presidency announced late on Thursday that Morsi would be sworn in Saturday before the Constitutional Court, after differences with the army over the transfer of power to the nation's first civilian president.
 
Morsi "will go at 11 am (0900 GMT) Saturday to the Constitutional Court to take the oath before the Court's general assembly", said a statement released by MENA.
 
He will then go on to Cairo University to celebrate his investiture and make an inauguration speech to the nation, the statement added.
 
Media reports said Morsi was consulting a cross-section of Egyptian society before appointing a premier and a cabinet mostly made up of technocrats.
 
In a meeting with Egyptian newspaper editors reported by most dailies on Friday, Morsi pledged there would be "no Islamisation of state institutions" during his presidency.
 
Traditionally the president takes the oath in parliament, but Egypt's top court has ordered the disbanding of the Islamist-dominated legislature.
 
The military subsequently assumed legislative powers and also formed a powerful national security council headed by the president but dominated by generals.
 
By agreeing to be sworn in by the Constitutional Court, Morsi is effectively acknowledging the court's decision to dissolve parliament.
 
Egypt's first civilian president, and the first elected since an uprising ousted president Hosni Mubarak last year, still has to contend with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
 
The SCAF, which took control after Mubarak resigned, will retain broad powers even after it formally transfers control to Morsi.
 
It reserves the right to appoint a new constituent assembly should the one elected by parliament be disbanded by a court decision expected on September 1.
 
But the Brotherhood insists that only parliament can appoint the assembly.
 
Morsi has already met SCAF chief Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, as well as a delegation from the Sunni body Al-Azhar, and another representing Egypt's Coptic church.
 
Challenges ahead

The liberal Wafd newspaper reported that Tantawi would stay on as defence minister in Morsi's new government.
 
The flagship state-owned daily Al-Ahram said in an editorial that Morsi's swearing-in should "dispel once and for all the doubts raised by those who have used every means to question the military's readiness to hand over power." US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulated Morsi on Wednesday, adding that Egypt's military "deserves praise for facilitating a free, fair and credible election".
 
"We expect President Morsi to demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity that is manifested by representatives of the women of Egypt, of the Coptic Christian community, of the secular, non-religious community and young people," she added.
 
The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, while welcoming Morsi's election, said it was worried about "real obstacles to democracy" in Egypt, notably security and stability challenges in a deeply polarised country.
 
These "constitute real obstacles to a slowly emerging democracy in a country which has virtually no democratic experience," it warned.
 
The International Monetary Fund has said it was ready to help Egypt tackle its "significant immediate economic challenges".
 
Since late last year the IMF has been discussing with the interim leadership a possible $3.2 billion loan to help Cairo bridge fiscal shortfalls while restructuring the economy and financial system.

June/29/2012

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