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President Morsi tackles Egypt grievances in extended TV interview

In Sunday TV interview, President Morsi calls for dialogue to ensure 'transparent' elections, promises imminent trip to restive canal city and heaps praise on army, intelligence apparatus

Ahram Online , Monday 25 Feb 2013
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi
Photo of President Morsi's interview with television host Amr EL-Leithi (Photo: presidency Official Facebook page )
Views: 3582
Views: 3582

Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi tackles public concerns, refuting 'rumours' in an interview with TV anchor and former aide Amr El-Leithy on Sunday after midnight, around six hours after it was due to be televised.

The pre-recorded interview recorded at the presidential palace opened with a question on the role of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose political arm fielded Morsi, in ruling Egypt.

"It is the Egyptians who are ruling Egypt," answered Morsi, emphasising that he is a president for all Egyptians and is the only one responsible for his decisions, which he negotiates with all factions.

On the issue of legalising the Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed under the ousted Mubarak regime, Morsi replied that it is in law's hands.

Also, on recent calls for civil disobedience in several governorates the president emphasised that calls for such action should be born from the people's will to express their opinions through peaceful means, and not because the movement is bullying people to do so.

"I plan to visit Port Said soon," Morsi said in the interview, which was broadcast on the Mehwar television channel and conducted by television host Amr El-Lithy, Morsi's former media advisor.

Demonstrators in Port Said have been conducting an ongoing campaign of 'civil disobedience,' which has led to the closure of most of the city's primary institutions – including companies, factories, official authorities (including the local customs authority) and the East Port Said maritime port – for eight consecutive days.

President Morsi further added that he is not considering resigning (opposition has been demanding he resign for months) because he is determined to carry out the responsibility handed to him by the people to the end of his four-year term.

"I will continue and will not abandon this responsibility," he concluded. Furthermore, he accused the revolution's "enemies" of not wanting to see Egypt flourish.

Army and interior ministry

On the president's relationship with the armed forces, Morsi stressed there cannot be a conflict between the president and the armed forces, for they are one - not two.

"Defence Minister Abdel Fatah El-Sisi is a professional dedicated man, like all men of the armed forces, and there is no intention of dismissing him [El-Sisi]," said Morsi who vehemently denied rumours on his "Brotherhoodisation attempts on the army and interior ministry."

'Hisham Qandil's Cabinet not a failure'

The president also defended PM Hisham Qandil and his Cabinet against criticism, arguing that the government is working under harsh conditions and needs time before a positive difference can be observed. 

Recent opposition rallies have been calling to dismiss Hisham Qandil and what they consider a failed and inefficient government.

"The government's performance on the economy is not excellent, but it is moderate," said Morsi, pointing out that after the parliamentary elections - which are to take place within four months - a new government will be formed.

On opposition's pessimism regarding the transparency of the elections, the president invited all opposition to dialogue to implement all their demands that would "guarantee the fairness of the electoral process."

This is the third time the president extends such an invitation for dialogue since end of January, when police-protester clashes erupted in the country. The National Salvation Front an umbrella political bloc encompassing anti-Islamist groups, rejected Morsi's invitation, however, describing it as a "farce."

The NSF's leading figures Hamdeen Sabbahi and Mohamed ElBaradei announced their respective groups would boycott parliamentary elections and called on all Egyptians to follow suit.

On the calls to dismiss Prosecutor-General Talaat Abdulla, which Morsi appointed in December after sacking the controversial predecessor, the president replied he does not have authority to dismiss him. According to the recently-approved constitution, Morsi explains he can't change Abdullah.

Presidency and Nour Party

The anchor also delved into the recent dispute between the presidency and the Salafist Nour party, which erupted after leading Nour member Khaled Alam El-Din was dismissed from his post as presidential advisor for allegedly "using his position for personal gains."

El-Din and Nour slammed the accusations and demanded an official apology from the president.

"There is no problem between Nour party and I, nor any party in Egypt," said Morsi who added that he [the president] did not dismiss El-Din or punish him, "I only asked him to resign from his post."


The president gave salutations to Egyptian Copts in his interview, sending warm wishes for the coming Coptic holidays, stressing that he is keen to interact with the Christian community on a daily basis.

Morsi also added that there is nothing stopping him from visiting the main cathedral on the next available occasion, after having skipped various opportunities.

"We are all Egyptians before the law in terms of rights and duties, and the difference in belief will never be a reason for a difference in interest," he said.

Recently, Copts expressed annoyance with the president's recent announcement to hold parliamentary elections on 27-28 April, and the runoffs on 4-5 May. The four days coincided with four Coptic holidays.

The presidency later announced that would forward the elections earlier to 22 April to avoid direct overlap with the Coptic holidays.

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