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On June 30, 2012 the fifth Egypt’s president, Mohammed Morsi, took office after he won the elections in the African country earlier this year. The first democratically oriented Islamist leader of the Arab republic is now ready to turn a new chapter of the history of his home country. The new Egyptian head of state promised that he will listen more attentively to what his compatriots have to say, because as he himself declared during his first speech in Cairo University on Saturday, “There is no authority above the authority of people.”
On February 11, 2011, the previous president, Hosni Mubarak, was forced to resign after a powerful wave of protests against his authoritarian regime took place. Mubarak spent more than a quarter of a century on this post, leading strong but unsuccessful politics of repressions and restrictions. The enormous income gaps, together with the exceptive pressure on behalf of the government, were the main precondition for the growing dissatisfaction with the former leader. The revolution in Egypt was a turning point for the country. It was a national victory against the injustice and oppression.
The elections in June 2012 were the serial step to the long awaited change in the African republic. Morsi promised a democratic government, but whether he will keep his promise will be known later in future.
Although the Islamist leader won the elections only four percent over his opponent, it was a great landslide not only for him, but for the country he is now to rule. For some people, the name Morsi became a symbol of the forthcoming change in the Arab republic.
Despite being raised in poverty, Morsi received a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in engineering from Cairo University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in the U.S. The new Egyptian leader was invited to teach in a prominent American University; however, life outside the motherland was not the thing he and his wife, Naglaa Ali Mahmoud, dreamed about. They returned together to Egypt, where their family started rising from nothing to reach the top.
During his presidential campaign, he promised that his priority will be the construction of a democratic country. Other aspects of his policy will be the issues regarding women’s rights and the improvement of the tense relationships with Israel.
Although the 60-year-old Morsi is said to “represent the older, more conservative wing of the Muslim Brotherhood” that “openly endorses a strict Islamic vision,” in the course of time he proved that he supports the widespread concept that people have to struggle for power, because otherwise no one will give it to them. He spent seven months in jail during Hosni Mubarak’s regime because of his participation in the protests against the repressions and inequality in the country at that time.
The fact that an Islamist won the elections, at a certain degree, surprised the political circles around the world. His campaign was under the heading “Islam is the solution.”
Aabout the connection between Islamism and democracy, he personally commented that “There is no such thing called an Islamic democracy. There is democracy only.”
The White House and the European Union supported the choice of the Egyptians, offering their congratulations to the new president and to the nation as a whole. U.S. President Barack Obama called both Mohamed Morsi and his biggest opponent, Ahmed Shafiq, in order to encourage them to work together for the prosperity of the African country and to express the willingness of the U.S. to give a helping hand to the new government if necessary.
The elections in the country put a symbolical end to the Arab Spring there. Egypt is now passing through the most strenuous moment in its history. The greatest and most disputable battle in the African republic may have already finished, but the people are yet to begin constructing the democratic system in the country.
Image Courtesy of Freedom and Justice Party