Egypt election: Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is sworn in as President

 

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former head of Egypt’s armed forces, was sworn in as President on Sunday following last month’s election, which officials said Mr Sisi won with 97 per cent of the vote.

His inauguration comes after three years of upheaval following the popular uprising against Hosni Mubarak and Mr Sisi’s removal of President Mohamed Morsi.

In a ceremony with low-key attendance by Western allies concerned by a crackdown on dissent, the former army chief called for hard work and the development of freedom "in a responsible framework away from chaos".

Security in Cairo was extra tight, with armoured personnel carriers and tanks positioned in strategic locations. Sisi said combating terrorism would be his top priority for the time being, a reference to Islamist foes he describes as a threat to national security.

"As for those who shed the blood of the innocents, there will be no place for them in this path," Sisi said in his first speech to the nation.

"And I say it loud and clear, there will be no soft stand with anyone who resorts to violence or whoever wants to delay our march towards the future that we want for our children."

Sisi toppled President Mohamed Mursi of the Brotherhood last July after mass protests against his rule.

Security forces then killed hundreds of Brotherhood supporters in the streets and jailed thousands of others in a crackdown that polarised the biggest Arab state, which controls the strategic Suez Canal and has a peace treaty with Israel.

In an earlier speech to foreign dignitaries, Sisi called for "an inclusive national march" in an apparent bid to heal political divisions and put an end to street protests that have hammered the economy.

Critics fear Sisi will become yet another authoritarian leader who will preserve the interests of the military and the Mubarak-era establishment, crushing the hopes of democracy.

Near Tahrir Square, the symbolic heart of the revolt against Mubarak where protesters now rarely tread, young men sold t-shirts with the image of Sisi in his trademark dark sunglasses.

Commentators on state and private media heaped praise on him, turning a blind eye to what human rights groups say are widespread abuses, in the hope that he can deliver stability and rescue state finances.

Many Egyptians share that hope, but they have limited patience, staging street demonstrations that toppled two leaders in the past three years, and the election turnout of just 47 percent shows Sisi is not as popular as when he toppled Mursi.

"Sisi 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.

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.

Mursi 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.

Reuters

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
British author Helen Macdonald, pictured with Costa book of the year, 'H is for Hawk'
booksPanel hail Helen Macdonald's 'brilliantly written, muscular prose' in memoir of a grief-stricken daughter who became obsessed with training a goshawk
Sport
footballLive blog: Follow the action from the Capital One Cup semi-final
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Manager - OTE £40,000

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This web-based lead generation ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century