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New President Sisi promises to build stability in Egypt

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By The Los Angeles Times
Sunday, June 8, 2014, 7:12 p.m.
 

CAIRO — Egypt's new president, Gen. Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi, was inaugurated on Sunday to head the government of a nation plagued by political turmoil and economic problems.

Sisi's inauguration in took place in the Constitutional Court, where Mohamed Morsy, the elected president he overthrew nearly a year ago, had been sworn in.

“The time has come to build a more stable future that writes a new reality for this country — a reality that makes hard work the platform of our lives,” said the former field marshal, who left the army to run for president as a civilian. He urged Egyptians to reject chaos in favor of order, and said freedom must be exercised with “responsibility.”

Authorities decreed the day a national holiday, and the former defense chief's ascension was marked by tight security and displays of military strength. Police and soldiers were deployed throughout the capital, and the former army chief reviewed an honor guard as military helicopters flew overhead.

Supporters gathered to celebrate in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the center of the 2011 revolution that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The 59-year-old Sisi, who had served as the country's de facto leader since the removal of Morsy in July by the army, was elected president last month in a landslide vote. International monitors said the balloting itself was conducted correctly, but criticized the atmosphere of repression surrounding it.

Morsy and thousands of his followers in the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood are in jail, and the deposed president could face the death penalty if convicted on charges that include espionage and murder.

More than 1,400 Morsy supporters have died in clashes with security forces in the past year.

Some of the leading figures in the 2011 uprising are in prison, and their supporters say Egypt has reverted to the police-state style of governance that characterized the Mubarak era.

Mubarak is imprisoned in a military hospital not far from the court complex where el-Sissi was sworn in.

The assumption of power by Sisi, a career army officer, marks a return to Egypt's long tradition of leaders drawn from the ranks of the military. The only exception in six decades was Morsy, who lasted for less than a year in office.

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