President-elect of Egypt Mohamed Morsi was sworn in [press release] Saturday at the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) [offical profile] before the General Assembly of the court. In his speech, Morsi vowed that Egypt would continue on the right path toward democracy: "Today, Egypt has become a modern, constitutional and civilian State." He also said he would work to ensure the three branches of government, the executive, legislative and judicial branches, remain independent of each other. Following his inauguration, Morsi held a celebration [press release] at Cairo University [official website, in Arabic], where he spoke to a crowd of both ordinary citizens and government leaders. Morsi is Egypt's first freely elected president and first Islamic president. He was elected earlier this month in a run-off election [JURIST report] against former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik, after the general election produced results with a difference of only 250,000 votes between the two.
Morsi is taking power during a transitional time in Egypt's government, and he is under a lot of international pressure to ensure that Egypt stays on track toward democracy. Yesterday, Amnesty International [advocacy website] urged [JURIST report] Morsi to end the pattern of human rights abuses carried out by former president Hosni Mubarak. Earlier this month, a former candidate in the presidential election, along with nongovernmental groups, filed a lawsuit challenging Egypt's interim constitution after a provision was added stating that power would be transferred to the new president [JURIST reports] by the end of the month, but that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would maintain broad authority until a permanent constitution is created. The SCC also created controversy earlier this month by dissolving Egypt's parliament after ruling that over a third of its members were elected illegally. The day before dissolving the country's parliament, the SCC broadened the powers of its military [JURIST report], restoring its power to arrest citizens for non-military offenses.