Morsi Promises Inclusive Government, Female Vice-president
June 28, 2012
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has pledged to appoint a woman and a Christian as vice-president. Both would be historic.
During the election period, Morsi insisted that he wasn't interested in forming an Islamic republic, that he believed in equal rights for women, and that he would respect the rights of minorities. (Coptic Christians make up a small but notable percentage of the population.)
Morsi, who moved into his new offices this week, began to assemble his government, one of the few important presidential powers left after the ruling military generals assumed most of the others in the wake of the presidential runoff that vaulted Morsi to power. An appeal of that decree is with Cairo's administrative court, which recently dismissed a decree by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces reinstating the military's power to arrest civilians. The court is also reviewing appeals against two other SCAF actions, the dissolution of Parliament and of the assembly tasked with writing the country's new constitution.
Morsi will give a speech in front of a huge rally planned for Tahrir Square on Friday. The former Muslim Brotherhood standard-bearer gave up his membership when he won the presidency but will join the large rally in a show of unity.
Morsi will take the presidential oath this weekend in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court, which recently invalidated parliamentary elections, eliminating the traditional swearing-in location, in front of a sitting Parliament.
Morsi will officially take control of the government from the ruling generals. An announcement from that group reiterated the intention of SCAF's head, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, to remain as defense minister. Tantawi, 76, served in the same role for decades under Mubarak and was the de facto leader of the country when Mubarak fled.
One person who definitely won't be in the new government is Ahmed Shafiq, whom Morsi defeated in the runoff. Shafiq, the last prime minister under Hosni Mubarak, left the country for Abu Dhabi, with an eye toward forming a new political party when he returns to Egypt.
Morsi faces a turbulent future as president, as the country he now leads struggles with religious, legal, and economic challenges. The International Monetary Fund has signalled that the plan for up to $3.2 billion in loans can go forward.