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Egypt's new president: From army chief to civilian strongman

Published on Jun 8, 2014 11:11 AM
Egypt's new president and former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gestures after casting his ballot in Cairo, May 26, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

CAIRO (AFP) - Egypt's new president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was sworn in on Sunday, may have donned civilian clothes but his crackdown on opponents has raised fears the ex-army chief could herald a return to autocracy.

Mr Sisi was chosen as president in a May 26-28 election with 96.91 percent of the vote, nearly a year after toppling the country's first freely elected leader, Islamist Mohamed Morsi.

In a televised address following the results and a lower than anticipated turnout, Mr Sisi struck a positive note, saying: "The future is a blank page, and it is in our hands to fill with what we want ... bread, freedom, human dignity, social justice".

The 59-year-old became Egypt's most popular political figure and de facto head of state after leading the July 3 ouster of Morsi following massive rallies demanding the Islamist's resignation.

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