Cairo: A day after the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate was declared winner of Egypt’s Presidential Election, Mohammed Mursi on Monday started consultations on forming his team and a new government.
Egypt's first freely elected President Mursy, who today moved into his Presidential palace that once housed Hosni Mubarak, tried to project the image of a moderate leader as he reached out to all, including electoral rivals, for forming the government.
"His priority is the stability on the political scene," said Yasser Ali, a spokesman for Mursi. Ali said the president was in his office to consult on forming a new government.
Ali anticipates the current military-backed government could remain in a caretaker role for a while. He says forming a new one "will take time”.
Mursi has on his shoulders the onus of bridging deep political divisions and negotiating the contours of the military's power, a task he began by appealing for unity in the economically battered nation.
After his victory, Mursi called for national unity, proclaiming himself a leader "for all Egyptians”.
Mursi is likely to be sworn in on June 30, although questions remain over the extent of his presidential powers after the ruling military junta's move to dissolve the Islamist-led parliament.
He defeated former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq in a nail-biting run-off vote that deeply polarised the country, pitting radicals, moderates and remnants of the former regime against each other.
As Mursi replaces the 30-year iron fisted rule of Mubarak, he has before him the challenge of consolidating power in the civilian administration, negotiating with the Army that looks reluctant to relax its grip on power, revive the battered economy and restore the law and order.
Mursi today met ruling junta chief Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who was quoted by state TV as saying that the military will "stand by the elected, legitimate president and will cooperate with him for the stability of the country."
Mursi also met military-backed Prime Minister Kamal el- Ganzouri, who resigned today and was asked to head a caretaker government until the President nominates a new one.
With Mursi's victory Egyptians breathed a sigh of relief and returned to work today. Traffic was flowing again through Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square, the nerve center of uprising.
In a sombre victory speech yesterday, Morsi vowed to "protect the rights of women and children", as well as Christians and Muslims alike.
Reaching out to Egypt's activists who led last year's revolution, Mursi paid a tribute to the over 800 protesters killed in the uprising.
"I wouldn't have been here between your hands as the first elected president without... The blood, the tears and sacrifices of the martyrs," he said.
He also declared that he had a "message of peace" and that he would respect all international agreements, in what is being seen as an indirect reference to Egypt's peace treaty with Israel.
Behind the scenes talks were already underway between the Brotherhood and generals to resolve tensions and negotiate what powers the president will have. Shortly before the polls closed last week, the generals issued a decree sharply limiting the powers of the new president.
The military junta holds control of legislative power and the budget, until a new parliament is elected.
With Agencies Inputs
First Published: Monday, June 25, 2012, 10:55