Mohamed Mursi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president after the fall of ousted president Mubarak, took a symbolic “oath of office” during a 30 minute speech in Cairo, promising dignity and social justice to a crowd of tens of thousands gathered in Tahrir Square.
Mursi pledged allegiance reciting the words of an oath hours before heading to take the oath of office before the High Constitutional Court on Saturday – a step mandated by the ruling military council after it dissolved parliament two weeks ago- a move denounced by many of its opponents
He stressed that “the will of the people is above everybody,” challenging an army which has sought to shield itself from parliamentary oversight.
Mursi opened his speech by addressing himself to “the Muslims and Christians of Egypt,” and promised to preserve a civil state.
Mursi, a former Muslim Brotherhood official, promised to end torture and discrimination, and to deliver social justice for millions of Egyptians.
Morsi also pledged to try to release civilians arrested by the army since the revolution; more than 12,000 people have been tried by military tribunals since February 2011, according to local human rights groups, Al Jazeera reports.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party had the largest share of seats in parliament, and has vowed to fight its dissolution.
Mursi will formally take his oath on Saturday morning, and then head to Cairo University to deliver an inauguration speech, according to AFP.
He will take office amid great political uncertainty. He swore to uphold the constitution, but Egypt still does not have a permanent constitution, only a series of “constitutional declarations” issued by the ruling generals, according to Al Jazeera. Shortly before parliament was dissolved, lawmakers appointed a 100-member assembly to draft a new constitution.