Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Assar, a member of Egypt's ruling military council (Photo: AP)
President-elect Mohamed Morsi will have full presidential powers when he takes office, Mohamed El-Assar, a member of Egypt's ruling military council (SCAF), said Wednesday.
In a wide-ranging interview on the CBC satellite channel, members of the ruling junta defended recent changes to the 30 March 2011 temporary constitution and claimed they did not back either candidate in the presidential poll.
The SCAF issued the recent constitutional addendum on 18 June 2012 for legal reasons, El-Assar claimed, and did so after the court had ruled on the dissolution of parliament in order to fill the resulting power vacuum.
The SCAF had no idea who would win the presidential election and did not prefer one candidate over the other, claimed Mahmoud Hegazi, a second member of the junta.
"I swear to God, we learned who the new president was when the electoral commission announced it on TV," he added.
In addition, no deal was made with either candidate as reported by some media sources, Hegazi said.
On the controversial issue of where the president-elect will take his oath of office, Hegazi said it was an issue for Mohamed Morsi and his presidential staff, not the junta.
"We hope he swears the oath before the High Constitutional Court to start Egypt's second republic in a way that shows respect for the law," he said.
Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the junta, will be the defence minister in Mohamed Morsi's new government, said El-Assar.
"This is to avoid any changes in the armed forces in this critical period before drafting the constitution," he added.
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood, along with other political forces, have been protesting in Tahrir Square for nine days to demand the parliament, which was dissolved by the SCAF on the 15 June, be restored and the constitutional addendum be cancelled.
Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi beat Mubarak's last premier Ahmed Shafiq in the presidential election runoff. The result was announced on 24 June by the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission.
The ruling military council is due to hand over power to President-elect Mohamed Morsi on 30 June.