Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said he would be “president for all Egyptians; those who accept me and those who oppose me," in a speech on Saturday after taking the oath of office to begin his second term.
"Egypt is for all…No one will be excluded except those who have chosen terrorism, violence, and extremism as a way to enforce their will and reign," El-Sisi said in a televised speech in front of the House of Representatives, where he gave the oath of office on Saturday morning to mark the start of his second four-year term.
El-Sisi said he was adamant on “continuing the path" for the nation, free from any bias except of being "for the state."
“The country’s best days are ahead of us, as long as intentions are sincere and hearts are honest," he said.
El-Sisi said he would continue with his promises, and would not spare an effort or postpone any work, and would not fear any challenge.
“I'm certain of the magnitude and the history of our nation and my belief that the alignment of the Egyptian people is a guarantee of victory and crossing to the future,” he said.
"This great nation has proved its resilience and underwent the battle of protecting the gains of the country and proving its real will," he said, praising Al-Azhar, which he described as the platform of moderate Islam, and the Coptic Orthodox Church, the symbol of peace and tolerance.
He also saluted the efforts made by the armed forces and the police, who have sacrificed their blood “so the country's head remains held high,” as well as Egyptian women.
"Now that the accomplishments of the first period have been achieved of our plan, I assert that I will put human development as head of the priorities of state through the upcoming period, as I believe that the real treasure of our nation is the human who has to be built on a comprehensive basis, in terms of mind and culture, to reintroduce Egyptian identity following attempts to tamper with it," El-Sisi said.
El-Sisi was first elected to office in 2014; in March he won 97 percent of the vote in a second election, securing a second term which will run until 2022.
The president said that issues of education, health, and culture would be at the top of his priorities through a number of projects and major programmes nationwide which aim to develop the Egyptian person in all fields.
He also added that the country will proceed towards boosting balanced relationships will all international and regional partners through an exchange of interests, “without sliding into futile conflicts.”
At the end of his speech, El-Sisi called on attendees to chant "long live Egypt" three times.
The president's speech received vocal support from the audience of MPs, who interrupted with recurrent standing ovations.
Ahead of the speech, the swearing-in ceremony stared with the national anthem and a celebratory 21-gun salute, with army choppers heard and seen around parts of the capital.
Parliament speaker Ali Abdel Aal then read a letter delivered by the country’s National Elections Authority which confirmed El-Sisi’s victory in the March elections.
He also delivered a speech pointing to the president's accomplishments in his first term.
El-Sisi then swore the oath of office, taken from Article 144 of the constitution, in front of the special session of parliament.
This is the second time that the current Egyptian president has directly addressed the house, with the first time being in January 2016 after the parliamentary elections, when he announced the transfer of legislative power from the president to parliament.
El-Sisi took his first presidential oath of office in 2014 in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court; the last president to be sworn in in front of parliament was Hosni Mubarak in 2005.
The Saturday session was attended by members of Prime Minister Sherif Ismail’s cabinet, top security officials, Al-Azhar head Ahmed El-Tayyeb, Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, and Grand Mufti Shawki Allam.
The parliamentary building in central Cairo has been decorated with Egyptian flags and other decorations around the entrances to mark the occasion.