Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi was sworn in for a second term before the Egyptian parliament Saturday, telling legislators that he considered himself to be the president of all Egyptians, both those who support him and those who do not.
The speaker of Egypt’s parliament, Ali Abdel Aal, introduced President Sissi to lawmakers, telling them that he had been officially declared the victor of the country’s presidential election in April by the country’s electoral commission.
Sissi won more than 90 percent of the vote in a contest that pitted him against a relatively unknown architect who entered the race at the last minute. Several more well-known candidates either withdrew or were declared ineligible to run for office.
Sissi took the oath of office, saying he vowed before God to preserve the country’s republican system of government, respect the constitution and preserve both the independence and unity of the state and its people.
In a brief speech to parliament, following his swearing in, Sissi told legislators that despite all the quarrels and contention among Egyptians that the country has been through since the 2011 revolution, it was his aim to unite everyone:
He said he considers himself the president of both those who agree with him and those who disagree and asked for the sincere efforts and courage of everyone, saying Egypt deserves that we live and die for her and her great people.
Sissi blasted those people and forces he claimed damaged the country in the struggles that overtook Egypt since 2011.
He said he intends to work to build a future and fashion a path toward tomorrow that will accomplish the people’s dreams for a modern state, built on a foundation of freedom and democracy, and restoring Egypt’s rightful place among the nations, which was damaged as a result of domestic and external doings.
Sissi went on to stress that Egyptians have “fought together against brutal terrorism and defeated it, despite its efforts to tear apart society and the heavy social, economic and political price it has imposed on everyone.”
Political sociologist Said Sadek says that President Sissi also spoke about a “cultural revival” and rebuilding the country’s cultural identity:
“He emphasized the importance of Egyptian human development and said that [he] will concentrate on education, health and culture, because we have to respond to ideas against the nation,” he said.
Sadek added that Sissi spoke briefly about the economy, saying he was planning to continue with economic reforms that he undertook during his first term, including the gradual lifting of subsidies on fuel.
An official military honor guard fired a 21-gun salute following the swearing in ceremony, as legislators applauded the president inside parliament. Egyptian F-16 fighter jets also circled the center of Cairo to mark the event.