Mohamed Morsi has been sworn in before Egypt’s highest court as the country’s first freely elected president, succeeding Hosni Mubarak who was toppled 16 months ago.

Morsi became Egypt’s fifth head of state since the overthrow of the monarchy some 60 years ago.

He took the oath on Saturday before the Supreme Constitutional Court in their Nile-side courthouse built to resemble an ancient Egyptian temple.

Morsi has vowed to reclaim presidential powers stripped from his office by the military council that took over after Mubarak’s overthrow.

But by agreeing to take the oath before the court, rather than before parliament as is customary, he is bowing to the military’s will in an indication that the contest for power will continue.

“Today is the birthday of the second republic,” said one of the judges in a preamble to the ceremony, which was broadcast live by state television.

Morsi had wanted the ceremony to take place in parliament, in keeping with the country’s interim constitution, but the ruling military dissolved the Islamist-dominated house earlier this month after a court order.

He pre-empted the court ceremony by swearing himself in at Tahrir Square and warning off generals trying to curb his powers. Read more…