Skip to main content

Morsy hails a 'new era' for Egypt

By Melissa Gray, CNN
updated 9:32 AM EST, Sun December 30, 2012
Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsy waves to his supporters in November.
Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsy waves to his supporters in November.
  • Egyptian president makes a speech to parliament about the new constitution
  • He says the constitution guarantees equality under the law
  • It also puts power in the hands of lawmakers, not the president, he says
  • More than 63% of voters approved the controversial constitution

(CNN) -- Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy declared a "new era" for the country Saturday, saying the new constitution guarantees equality under the law and puts power in the hands of lawmakers, not the president.

He spoke three days after signing the controversial constitution into law. Despite criticism of the document, more than 63% of Egyptian voters approved it after two rounds of voting.

"There is no more tyranny, discrimination or absence of social justice," Morsy said in a speech before members of the upper house of parliament, heads of the country's political parties, dignitaries of Egyptian society and diplomats.

"All citizens -- no matter which class they come from, or what they believe in, or what political position they have -- they are all equal before the law and under this constitution. Egypt cannot be built by some of its citizens while others are left behind. Egypt is for all Egyptians. Freedom is for all its citizens, with no exception. And democracy is the result of everyone's effort after the success of the January 25th revolution."

Adopting the new constitution ends a transitional period that Morsy said lasted "a lot longer than necessary."

"I stress to all Egyptians that I will strengthen the authority of the judicial branch and will guarantee its independence," he said. "The modern state cannot operate either without free media, away from the dominance of the executive power and away from those who have only vested interest in their own affairs, also away from corrupt sources of financing."

The constitution puts parliament fully in charge of all legislative powers, Morsy said. He pointed out that voters, not the president, gave them that authority, and he urged lawmakers to work together with all political parties and civil institutions.

Critics said the constitution was put to a vote too quickly. Liberals, Christians and other minority groups said that they felt excluded from the Islamist-dominated assembly that drafted it and that the wording did not include their voices.

Opposition members said the constitution uses vague language and will not protect the rights Egyptians fought for in last year's revolution, which ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

Morsy and his supporters say the constitution protects personal rights, especially with its provisions on the handling of detainees in the judicial system, which made capricious use of its powers under the former government.

The president dedicated most of his 40-minute speech to the economy, saying that Egypt is a modern state and the economy must be based on effective and transparent policies. He said Egypt will have a strong economic comeback.

Inflation reached is lowest point in the past two months, he said, and he discounted rumors that Egyptian banks will collapse.

Morsy said tourism, a major source of income for Egypt that has dropped sharply since the revolution, is on the rise. He said there were 4 million tourists in the past few months, double the number over a period of six months last year.

The president touched on foreign policy, stressing a noninterference policy in other nations' affairs and a focus on strengthening foreign ties. He also said Egypt supports the Syrian revolution and will work for Arab and international support to replace the current Syrian regime.

CNN's Amir Ahmed contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:26 PM EDT, Mon March 24, 2014
An Egyptian court sentences at least 528 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to death on charges related to violent riots in the southern Egyptian city of Minya.
updated 12:41 PM EDT, Mon March 24, 2014
Interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour sends letter to the family of jailed Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy.
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Sun March 9, 2014
CNN's Sara Sidner talks about stepping in for Al Jazeera reporters since they have been barred from working in Egypt.
updated 7:34 AM EDT, Sat March 15, 2014
How are the Arab Spring nations faring? What successes can they boast -- on democracy, economic progress, stability and women's rights -- and what challenges await?
updated 6:57 PM EST, Tue March 4, 2014
A Cairo court has banned all activities by Hamas in Egypt, calling the Palestinian movement that runs Gaza a terrorist organization.
updated 4:14 PM EST, Sat February 22, 2014
Lawyers representing Muslim Brotherhood members in a jailbreak case call for the judges to be changed.
updated 5:05 AM EST, Thu February 20, 2014
Three Al Jazeera journalists face terrorism charges after being arrested in December. CNN's Sara Sidner reports.
updated 12:52 PM EST, Sun February 9, 2014
CNN's Christiane Amanpour son the Egyptian government's actions towards journalists.
updated 11:09 PM EST, Mon February 17, 2014
At least four people died and 14 were wounded by a blast on a tourist bus in the resort town of Taba, authorities say.
updated 11:10 AM EST, Sun February 16, 2014
Mohamed Morsy taunts officials who placed him in a soundproof glass box during his trial on conspiracy charges.
updated 8:01 AM EST, Tue February 11, 2014
An Oscar-nominated film portrays a revolution squeezed into its margins,but that's where it started, writes H.A. Hellyer.
updated 3:18 AM EST, Wed January 22, 2014
"Democracy" is meaningless unless the right people are entrusted with implementing it, says Aalam Wassef.
updated 4:30 PM EST, Thu February 6, 2014
Egypt's military quashes a newspaper report that quoted Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi as saying he would run for president.
updated 3:02 AM EST, Sun January 26, 2014
Muslim Brotherhood supporters (background) clash with supporters of the Egyptian government in Cairo on January 25, 2014.
At least 49 people died in violence on the third anniversary of the January 25 revolution, state media says.
updated 5:04 PM EST, Sat January 18, 2014
Voters have overwhelmingly approved a new constitution, a spokesman for Egypt's electoral commission says.
updated 8:08 PM EST, Tue January 14, 2014
Egyptians vote for the first time since the military ousted Morsy. CNN's Ian Lee reports.
updated 8:11 PM EST, Tue January 14, 2014
A study suggests Egyptians are far more likely to support military rule than people in many other Mideast countries.
updated 3:54 PM EST, Tue January 14, 2014
CNN's Becky Anderson speaks to Amre Moussa about what went into the creation of Egypt's constitutional draft.
updated 1:12 PM EST, Tue January 14, 2014
Egyptians have high hopes that the referendum will put an end to the bloodshed, but will Egypt be back where it was at the start of the revolution?
updated 10:57 AM EST, Mon January 13, 2014
International correspondents demand Egypt release three journalists they say have been detained arbitrarily for two weeks.