Ex-army boss Sissi sworn in as Egypt president
By Samer Al-atrush, Haitham El-tabei ,AFP
June 9, 2014, 12:00 am TWN
CAIRO -- Abdel Fattah el-Sissi was sworn in as Egypt's president Sunday following a landslide election victory almost a year after he deposed the country's first freely elected leader and crushed his Islamist supporters.
The ex-army chief became the country's second elected president since a popular uprising overthrew strongman Hosni Mubarak in 2011, unleashing more than three years of unrest.
Western countries alarmed by the brutal crackdown on dissent following Sissi's ousting of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi mostly sent low-level representatives to his inauguration.
In a speech to Arab royals, foreign dignitaries and Egyptian public figures at the presidential palace, Sissi said it was time "for our great people to obtain the fruits of their two revolutions."
"The time has come to build a more stable future," he said, after signing a power transfer with outgoing interim president Adly Mansour, a chief justice who Sissi had installed when he toppled Morsi on July 3.
The ceremony, attended by Egyptian public figures as well as foreign dignitaries who lined up to shake Sissi's hand, appeared choreographed to display regional support for Sissi.
Many Egyptians view Sissi as the leader best suited to restoring stability and he scored a lopsided victory in a vote boycotted by Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and secular dissidents, targeted by the army-installed government in a sweeping crackdown.
Soldiers and police deployed in force around the capital in anticipation of protests by the battered Brotherhood movement and possible militant attacks.
Earlier, Sissi took his oath at the Constitutional Court, next to the hospital where his elderly predecessor Mubarak is being detained after being convicted of corruption.
Elite policemen stood guard outside the court as helicopters dropped posters of Sissi on well-wishers who turned up to see the former army commander.
"I'm here to congratulate Sissi, the man who rescued us from terrorism and the Muslim Brotherhood," said one flag-waving supporter, Amira Ahmed.
Riding a wave of popularity since Morsi's overthrow, Sissi won the May 26-28 election with 96.9 percent of the vote against his only rival, leftist leader Hamdeen Sabbahi.
The nature of the victory showed he still enjoyed immense support for his overthrow of the divisive Morsi, after millions held protests demanding an end to the Islamist's turbulent year in power.
But the lower than anticipated turnout of about 47 percent denied Sissi the overwhelming mandate he had called for ahead of the vote.
The now-banned Brotherhood had urged a boycott of the election.
Sissi's main challenges will be to restore stability and revive the economy after the three years of turmoil that followed a 2011 uprising that ousted Mubarak.
Since Morsi's ouster, the crackdown on his supporters has killed more than 1,400 people and left thousands behind bars, while militants have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers.