Egypt's first elected civilian president, Mohammad Mursi, takes his oath on Saturday. This comes day after the Islamist leader preempted the formal ceremony by swearing himself in before ecstatic crowds in Tahrir Square and warning off generals trying to curb his powers.
On the eve of his official swearing-in, Mursi praised Egypt's Muslims and Christians alike Friday in front of crowds that packed the birthplace of the revolt that overthrew his predecessor Hosni Mubarak last year.
The president-elect, who won a run-off vote earlier this month, was received with applause by hundreds of thousands of people, some of whom had waited from early in the day for his appearance.
He promised a "civilian state" and praised "the square of the revolution, the square of freedom", in what he called an address to "the free world, Arabs, Muslims... the Muslims of Egypt, Christians of Egypt."
Mursi symbolically swore himself in before the crowd, saying: "I swear to preserve the republican system... and to preserve the independence of Egypt."
"I am one of you. I fear only God," he told them.
Before his triumphant arrival, chants against the ruling military -- which took over on Mubarak's overthrow -- rang out as people gathered under a searing sun.
After taking the oath Saturday, Mursi will have to contend with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), led by Mubarak's longtime defense minister Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, which will retain broad powers after the formal handover.
But Mursi threw down the gauntlet to the SCAF, while addressing the people directly.
"You are the source of power and legitimacy... there is no place for anyone or any institution... above this will," he told them. "I renounce none of the prerogatives of president."
The presidency has announced that Morsi will be sworn in Saturday before the Constitutional Court.
Traditionally the president takes the oath in parliament, but Egypt's top court has ordered the disbanding of the Islamist-dominated legislature.
Media reports said Mursi was consulting a cross-section of Egyptian society before appointing a premier and a cabinet mostly made up of technocrats.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by moqawama.org