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Egypt to get Coptic Christian, female VPs

world Updated: Jun 28, 2012 00:32 IST
Guardian News Service

Mohammed Morsi's first appointments as president-elect of Egypt will be a woman and a Coptic Christian, his spokesman has said, allaying fears about the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sameh el-Essawy said that although the names of the two choices had not been finalised, they would be Morsi'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 Copt has occupied such an elevated position.

The Muslim Brotherhood is at pains to calm fears of what an Islamist president might mean for Egypt and the region at large. Appointing a woman and a Copt is an attempt at a show of unity, and a rule by consensus.

Meanwhile, defeated presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq - Mubarak's last prime minister and Morsi's rival in the runoff election - flew to Abu Dhabi on Monday with his two daughters. His camp denied that he had fled as investigations begin into allegations of corruption against him while minister of civil aviation. He was in Abu Dhabi for "tourism", they said.

Essawy also said that Morsi had no objection to swearing the presidential oath in front of the supreme constitutional court (SCC), widely seen as a controversial move after the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood-majority parliament by that very court a day before the run-off elections earlier this month. But "that does not mean he (Morsi) acknowledges the dissolution of parliament", said Essawy, a member of Morsi's former party, Freedom and Justice (FJP).

Morsi's decisions came on a day that saw a flurry of court decisions and delays regarding several contentious issues, including the status of Parliament.