UK & World News

  • 8 June 2014, 13:26

Al Sisi Sworn In As President Of Egypt

Egypt's former army chief Abdel Fattah al Sisi has been sworn in as president for a four-year term.

The inauguration comes less than a year after the army ousted Mohammed Morsi, the Islamist who was the country's first freely-elected leader.

Al Sisi, 59, took his oath live on television at the headquarters of the Supreme Constitutional Court in a suburb south of Cairo. 

Police stood guard outside the court as helicopters dropped posters of al Sisi on his supporters.

Sunday has been declared a national holiday but tight security is in place across the Egyptian capital, with scores of police and soldiers keeping watch.

Al Sisi said: "I swear by almighty God to preserve the republican system, and to respect the constitution and the law and to care for the interests of the people; and to preserve the independence of the nation and its territorial integrity."

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, Arab royals and African leaders are among the guests at a reception being held at Cairo's presidential palace.

Al Sisi was named president after a landslide election victory at the end of May when he won 96.9% of the vote. However, turnout was low with many boycotting the poll.

The retired field marshal ousted Mohammed Morsi following mass protests against his regime in June last year.

Mr Morsi, who is now on trial for charges that carry the death penalty, was in power for only a year after the 2011 revolution which ousted former president Hosni Mubarak.

The last year has seen repeated violent clashes between the army regime and supporters of Mr Morsi.

More than 1,400 people are thought to have died in the crackdown on the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group. Thousands more have been arrested.

Opponents of al Sisi are worried he will bring in an another restrictive autocratic regime. In the run-up to the election he said "national security" took precedence over democracy.

Western leaders have sent low-level officials to the inauguration and are urging the new regime to safeguard human rights.

Sky's Middle East Correspondent Sherine Tadros said that while many had been holding parties to celebrate the inauguration, for al Sisi's opponents it is a "return to the past", with one man wielding all the power.

"(He) doesn't just hold executive power at the moment, he holds legislative power because there is no parliament, and he very much controls the judiciary.

"The institutions of the state are all in line with him, be it the state media or indeed the very powerful army."