President-elect Mohammed Mursi will speak to the people on Friday on the “rebirth of Egypt” when he joins a demonstration at the capital’s iconic Tahrir Square, the official MENA news agency reported on Thursday.
Mursi “is taking part in the march of a million Egyptians at Tahrir Square and across the country,” the agency cited his spokesman Yasser Ali as saying, adding that he would “make a speech to the great Egyptian people.”
Ali said that in his speech, Mursi will speak about “efforts to launch his program for the rebirth of Egypt.”
The Muslim Brotherhood, from which Mursi stood down after winning the presidential election, has called for a huge demonstration on Friday in Tahrir Square under the slogan: “Day of the transfer of power.”
Egypt has yet to decide on a venue for Mursi’s swearing in ceremony as the nation’s first civilian president.
Media reports said Mursi was consulting a cross-section of Egyptian society ahead of appointing a premier and a cabinet comprising largely of technocrats.
Mursi spokesman Yasser Ali had told the official MENA news agency the venue for Saturday’s ceremony would be decided later on Thursday.
Traditionally the president takes the oath in parliament, but Egypt’s top court has ordered the disbanding of the Islamist-dominated legislature.
The military subsequently assumed legislative powers and also formed a powerful national security council headed by the president but dominated by generals.
Egypt’s private television channel CBC quoted one ruling general, Mahmoud Hijazy, as saying Mursi will be sworn in before the Supreme Constitutional Court.
But by doing so Mursi would be acknowledging the court’s decision to dissolve parliament.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which fielded Mursi as a candidate in the presidential polls, insists that the oath be taken before parliament.
The Brotherhood has called for a huge demonstration on Friday in Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square under the slogan: “Day of the transfer of power.”
“There is a debate around the issue of swearing in and attempts are being made to reach a compromise that will satisfy all national forces and a decision would be announced Thursday,” MENA quoted Ali as saying.
Mursi, meanwhile, was “working on reaching some compromises on various issues so that all the parties are able to work together,” his spokesman has also said.
Egypt’s first civilian president, and its first elected leader since an uprising ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, still has to contend with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, 76, who served as Mubarak’s defense minister for two decades, will keep that post in Mursi’s future cabinet, an army council member said on Wednesday night.
“The government will have a defense minister who is head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces,” Major-General Mohammed Assar said on private CBC television.
Asked by the talk show host if this meant Tantawi would keep his defense portfolio, Assar said: “Exactly. What is wrong with that? He is the head of the SCAF, the defense minister and the commander of the armed forces.”
Assar insisted that Mursi, a 60-year-old U.S.-trained engineer, would have full presidential prerogatives, even as he outlined curbs on his right to decide on war or peace.
“The president is the head of state with full powers. The president makes a decision to go to war in consultation with the military rulers,” Assar said, adding that this was normal practice in other countries, including the United States.
The SCAF, which took control after Mubarak resigned, will retain broad powers even after it formally transfers control to Mursi at the end of June.
The military reserves the right to appoint a new constituent assembly should the one elected by parliament be disbanded by a court decision expected on Sept. 1.
But the Brotherhood insists that only parliament can appoint the assembly.
World powers support Mursi
Meanwhile, Mursi has received support from world powers including the United States.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulated him on Wednesday and also praised the ruling military for facilitating the election, according to AFP.
“We have heard some very positive statements so far,” she said, noting Mursi’s pledge to honor international obligations “which would, in our view, cover the peace treaty with Israel,” signed in 1979.
“We expect President Mursi to demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity that is manifested by representatives of the women of Egypt, of the Coptic Christian community, of the secular, non-religious community and young people,” she added.
Clinton said Egypt’s military “deserves praise for facilitating a free, fair and credible election.”
Meanwhile, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, while welcoming Mursi’s election, said it was worried about “real obstacles to democracy” in Egypt.
A resolution said Mursi will have to face security and stability challenges in a deeply polarized country.
These developments “constitute real obstacles to a slowly emerging democracy in a country which has virtually no democratic experience,” it warned.
The International Monetary Fund has already said it was ready to help Egypt tackle its “significant immediate economic challenges.”
Since late last year the IMF has been discussing with the interim leadership a possible $3.2 billion loan to help Cairo bridge fiscal shortfalls while restructuring the economy and financial system.