Following the official swearing in ceremony, Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi gave his inaugural address at Cairo University as the country’s leader.
Crowds awaited the president outside the iconic university – the same hall American President Barack Obama spoke at in 2009 – where students’ exams were delayed due to the president’s visit.
A wide array of public representatives were among the audience, including members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), who relinquished much power over the country following Morsi’s oath.
Delegations from Sinai, including family chiefs, parliamentary figures, representative of the revolutionary youth, families of those killed in the revolution, Mohamed ElBaradei, former presidential candidate Amr Moussa and members from the lower and upper houses parliament were also present.
ElBaradei remains a strong name being floated for the prime minister position as his popularity soars as a moderate, unyielding freedom fighter.
Morsi started his speech by apologizing to the students whose exams had to be postponed, in an unprecedented gesture of respect.
He addressed the crowd stating his positions on major issues. He commended the military forces, calling them the nation’s “sword and armor.”
Activists saw the gesture to be a political move. He then thanked policemen, many of whom were accused of opening fire indiscriminately on protesters during the 18 days of protests and during clashes in the country over the past 8 months.
Morsi said he would bring back elected institutions, those elected by Egyptians, in a reference to the Egyptian parliament, which only two days before the final presidential run-off was ostensibly dissolved by the same Supreme Constitutional Court that Morsi delivered his oath to serve as president on Saturday.
He called on the military to go back to its job of securing the borders of the country after power was officially transferred to him.
The Muslim Brotherhood, the group Morsi was a top member of before resigning in a gesture toward unity after his victory was made public last Sunday, had gone through a tense period with the military rulers of the country prior to the elections, when the joint power deal between the two fell asunder.
The Brotherhood almost won a majority in the lower house and liberals and revolutionaries accused them of taking the rulers side when protesters were killed by the security forces.
He then went on to talk about regional issues.
“We don’t export the revolution,” he said, stirring accusations that he is attempting to reassure Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Bahrain and other regional powers that are currently fighting their own internal opposition and trying to shut the door on the Arab Spring.
“The Syrian bloodshed must end,” said the president, announcing solidarity with Syrian civilians as they face death on daily basis.
“We stand in solidarity with the Syrian people and we will take steps to stop the violence there,” he added.
Morsi also remembered Palestinians, renewing Egypt’s support to their cause. But he reiterated that Egypt would respect all its treaties that have been inked, in a move aimed at reassuring the United States and Israel that the 1979 Camp David peace treaty is safe.
Morsi also responded to shouts from the families of the dead that “their rights are a pledge he took upon himself.”
Morsi, the before in Tahrir Square, had said he was the leader of the revolution and that the demands for change that began on January 25, 2011, would not be forgotten. On Saturday, Morsi appeared to push this idea further, acknowledging his leadership, but humbling reminding Egyptians that he is their servant.