Elected with 51.7 percent of the vote in last year’s presidential election, Morsi took office vowing to move beyond his roots in the Muslim Brotherhood.
But his presidency threw the country into deep polarization. Those who took to the streets this week say he lost his electoral legitimacy because he tried to give the Brotherhood and Islamist allies a monopoly on power, pushed through a constitution largely written by his allies and mismanaged the country’s multiple crises.
“Now we want a president who would really be the president of all Egyptians and will work for the country,” Said Shahin, a 19-year-old protester in Tahrir, said, falling to the ground to pray as soon as el-Sissi spoke.
Mahmoud Badr, spokesman for Tamarod, or Rebel — the youth movement behind the rallies — praised the crowds in the streets saying, they succeded in “putting your revolution back on track.”
“Let’s start a new page, a new page based on participation,” he wrote on his Twitter account. “Our hand is extended to all
Morsi and his allies say the opposition never accepted their appeals for dialogue — seen by opponents as empty gestures — and that Mubarak loyalists throughout the government sabotaged their attempts to bring change.
The military had issued an ultimatum on Monday giving Morsi 48 hours to find some solution with its opponents. Any deal, however, was a near impossibility, making it inevitable the military would move.
Earlier in the day, el-Sissi met with ElBaradei, Egypt’s top Muslim cleric — Al-Azhar Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb — and Coptic Pope Tawadros II, as well as youth representatives and some members of the ultraconservative Salafi movements. The consultations apparently aimed to bring as wide a consensus as possible behind the army’s moves.
But the Brotherhood boycotted the session, its political arm the Freedom and Justice Party said.