Morsi forces out defense minister and chief of staff

Morsi forces out defense minister and chief of staff

Morsi forces out defense minister and chief of staff

Egyptian Field Marshal Gen Hussein Tantawi (L), new President Mohamed Morsi (C), and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Sami Anan, attend a medal ceremony in Cairo. AP photo

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi ordered Egypt’s two top generals, including the defense minister, to retire today, presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said.

Head of the armed forces and defense minister, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who led the nation after Hosni Mubarak was ousted, was forced into retirement along with Chief of Staff Sami Anan as Morsi appointed two generals in their place, the spokesman said. 

The president appointed Abdel Fattah al-Sissi as defense minister to replace Tantawi.

Morsi also cancelled a constitutional declaration that aimed to limit presidential powers, which the ruling army council issued in June just as the election that brought Morsi to power drew to a close.

Before Morsi was sworn in, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) stripped the presidency of many of its powers. The military council also dissolved the Egyptian Parliament, which was dominated by the president’s Islamist allies, the powerful Muslim Brotherhood.

Anan and Tantawi, who had served as a minister to Mubarak for 20 years, were both appointed advisers to Morsi, whose spokesman said the changes among Egypt’s top brass were effective immediately. 

Morsi also appointed a senior judge, Mahmoud Mekki, as vice president. 

General Mohamed el-Assar told Reuters that the president’s decision to order Tantawi to retire followed a consultation with him and the army council. Relations between the Brotherhood and the military have been tense since the fall of Mubarak last year.