First Democratically Elected President Decries Military Coup
The Egyptian armed forces ousted the country’s first democratically elected president today after just a year in power, installing a temporary civilian government, suspending the constitution and calling for new elections. (AP, 3 July)
President Mohammed Morsi denounced the move as a “full coup” by the military.
After the televised announcement by Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the Army chief, that the president has been ousted, millions of anti-Morsi protesters in cities around the country erupted in delirious scenes of joy, with shouts of “God is great” and “Long live Egypt,” Associated Press reported. Fireworks burst over crowds dancing and waving flags in Cairo's Tahrir Square, one of multiple centers of a stunning four-day anti-Morsi revolt that brought out the biggest anti-government rallies Egypt has seen, topping even those of 2011.
Moments after the army statement, a statement on the Egyptian president's office's Twitter account quoted Morsi as saying the military's measures “represent a full coup categorically rejected by all the free men of our nation.”
In his speech, Gen. el-Sissi said the chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court would step in as interim president until new elections are held. A government of technocrats would be formed with “full powers” to run the country.
El-Sissi spoke while flanked by the country's top Muslim and Christian clerics as well as pro-reform leader Mohammed ElBaradei and representatives of the youth opposition movement behind the wave of protests.
The constitution, drafted by Morsi's Islamist allies, was “temporarily suspended," and a panel of experts and representatives of all political parties will consider amendments.
Morsi was elected with 51.7 percent of the vote in last year's presidential election. Those who took to the streets this week say he lost his electoral legitimacy because he tried to give the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist allies a monopoly on power, pushed through a constitution largely written by his allies and mismanaged the country's multiple crises.
Photo credit: Egypt’s Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the Army chief, announcing Morsi’s ouster on National TV. 3 July 2013. (AP)