Last Updated: Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:10 pm (KSA) 09:10 am (GMT)

Egypt’s Mursi meets with Christian leaders, activists to broaden support

The Muslim Brotherhood’s President-elect Mohamed Mursi (C) meets with Christian leaders from different denominations at the presidential palace in Cairo. (Reuters)
The Muslim Brotherhood’s President-elect Mohamed Mursi (C) meets with Christian leaders from different denominations at the presidential palace in Cairo. (Reuters)

Egyptian youth activists and Christian leaders met with President-elect Mohammed Mursi on Wednesday to work towards “achieving the goals of the uprising which ousted his predecessor Hosni Mubarak last year,” the Egypt Independent newspaper reported.

Egyptian activist Wael Ghoneim, known for his prominent role during the January 25 Revolution, said the meeting discussed the importance of transparency in all decisions made by Mursi’s government, which is due to be installed after he is inaugurated at the weekend.

Ghoneim has previously said he has several reservations on the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mursi even though he voted for him.

“Many people did not vote for Mursi because he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or the chairman of its political wing the Freedom and Justice Party, but because they did not want to opt for a member of the former regime,” Ghoneim said earlier this month in reference to the election runoff which saw Mursi pitted against former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq.

In the talks Mursi held with the youth activists, Asmaa Mahfouz, one of the founders of Egypt’s April 6 Youth Movement, said Mursi’s promises “are calculated but he seems to mean well for Egypt,” Egypt Independent reported.

Mursi also met with Christian leaders and the families of those killed in the uprising, seeking to broaden support before a handover of power by the ruling generals, due by June 30.

His first appointments as president-elect of Egypt will be a woman and a Coptic Christian, his spokesman has told the Guardian this week, as he moves to allay fears of the Brotherhood.

Samah al-Essawy said that although the names of the two choices had not been finalized, they would be Mursi’s two vice-presidents.

When the appointments go through, they will constitute the first time in Egypt’s history that either a woman or a Coptic Christian has occupied such a high-ranking position.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday congratulated Egypt’s newly elected Islamist president, but cautioned that the election was just a first step towards true democracy.

“We have congratulated President (Mohammed) Mursi and the Egyptian people for continuing on their path to democratic transition,” Clinton told reporters in Helsinki.

President-elect Mursi, of the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood, is in the process of forming a government after he was proclaimed Egypt’s first democratically elected president on Sunday, a year and a half after street protests toppled veteran strongman and U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak.

“We have heard some very positive statements so far,” Clinton said, hailing among other things Mursi’s pledge to honor international obligations, “which would, in our view, cover the peace treaty with Israel,” signed in 1979 and which many feared could be abandoned with an Islamist in power.

However, Clinton cautioned, “one election does not a democracy make.”

The historic vote was “just the beginning of hard work, and hard work requires pluralism, respecting the rights of minorities, an independent judiciary and independent media,” she said.

“We expect President Mursi to demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity that is manifested by representatives of the women of Egypt, of the Coptic Christian community, of the secular, non-religious community and young people,” she added.

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