'Don't obey me if I don't fulfill promises': President-elect Morsi tells Egyptians

Hatem Maher, Sunday 24 Jun 2012

In his first speech on state TV after being elected Egypt's first post-uprising president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood promises he will be "the leader of all citizens"

Mohamed Morsi
Egypt's new president Mohamed Morsi during his speech on state tv

Mohamed Morsi has called on Egyptians not to obey him if he fails to stick to the pledges he made before becoming the first freely elected president on Sunday.

The Muslim Brotherhood figure, who stepped down from his post as the head of its Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) immediately after the results were released, narrowly beat off competition from ex-prime minister Ahmed Shafiq to succeed Hosni Mubarak, who was overthrown by a popular uprising in January 2011.

Few hours after the announcement of the result, which saw Morsi garner 52 per cent of the votes, the 60-year-old gave his first speech on national TV, which was long used by Mubarak and his entourage to condemn and criminalise the Brotherhood which is now at the pinnacle of its power after decades of repression.

"I do will my best to fulfil the promises I made. I do not have any rights, I only have responsibilities which I have to meet. My people, please, help me as long as I'm fair and obeying God," he said in his trademark soft tone.

"If I do not obey God and failed to fulfillthe promises, do not obey me."

In the somewhat emotional speech, Morsi tried to allay the fears of all segments of society, almost saluting every party and institution in Egypt, from the ruling military to the working class, lavishing praise on all governorates and regions of the country in the process.

Morsi also dedicated his triumph to the martyrs of last year's uprising against Mubarak saying he "wouldn't be here today as first freely elected president without the sacrifices of the martyrs and injured."

He particularly attempted to reach out to Egyptian police, which notoriously imprisoned many Brotherhood figures in the past, with their torture of citizens and the heavy-handed tactics in suppressing protests proving to be main catalysts for the 18-day uprising.

Widespread rumours suggested that Morsi might make wholesale changes in the police hierarchy to punish those officers responsible for wrong-doing against the Brotherhood. The bespectacled man, however, struck a reconciliatory tone and implied he would never seek revenge.

"I salute the honorable policemen, my brothers and sons, some of whom mistakenly think I do not regard them highly," he said.

"Those who commit any crimes are subject to law, but the honorable policemen, who are the vast majority, deserved to be saluted and appreciated. They will have a big role to play in the future to protect and secure the country."

Morsi was also full of praise for judges, some of whom traded accusations with the Brotherhood following a recent court ruling in June to dissolve the Islamist-led lower house of the parliament.

He vowed to make the judiciary independent, highlighting one of the key demands of pro-democracy and youth activists, many of whom are still camping out in the iconic Tahrir square to pressure the military into accepting their demands.

The ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) incurred the wrath of many after limiting the powers of the president as it seeks to retain its influence in a country that has been ruled by army men since the 1952 coup, which ended Egypt's monarchy.

Treaties respect

Morsi has also eased worries some Western countries may have over his success.

While all official statements from Israel and United States have welcomed the outcome of Egypt's first democratic and free presidential elections, reports say they still fear an Islamist-led Egypt could pose a threat to Israel's security.

The controversial peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, struck in 1979 following the famous Camp David Accords, has been the subject of intense debate since the departure of Mubarak on 11 February, 2011.

Several presidential candidates said they would modify the accord "as to not harm national interests."

"We will honor international treaties and agreements, and will create balanced international relations based on mutual interests and respect. We will protect our borders, and reject foreign meddling in our domestic affairs," Morsi added.

"Egypt is capable of defending itself against any foreign aggression, and will protect Egyptians anywhere in the world."

Morsi also insisted his reign will not witness any kind of discrimination amid fears from the Coptic population, many of whom voted for Shafiq in the runoff vote.

"I will be president for all Egyptians, those inside the country and abroad. The people are source of all powers, and it's time for unity to rebuild our country and achieve goals of the revolution," he said.

"Together, Egyptians will create better and bright future for this nation."

Short link: