CAIRO - After weeks of political turmoil, Egypt's army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday, July 3, and suspended the constitution and unveiled a new roadmap for the country's future.
"Those in the meeting have agreed on a roadmap for the future that includes initial steps to achieve the building of a strong Egyptian society that is cohesive and does not exclude anyone and ends the state of tension and division," defense minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi said in a solemn address broadcast live on state television.
Flanked by political and religious leaders and top generals, Sisi said the head of the Constitutional Court will be installed as interim president.
A government of technocrats will be appointed to run Egypt during a transition period.
New presidential election will be held to be followed by parliamentary polls.
A committee will be formed of representatives of sects of Egyptian society to amend the suspended constitution.
A new commission will be formed to achieve societal reconciliation.
"The armed forces have tried in recent months, both directly and indirectly, to contain the internal situation and to foster national reconciliation between the political powers, including the presidency, Sisi said..
But those efforts had failed, he said, adding that the president "responded with negativity in the final minutes.
After the army statement, hundreds of thousands of anti-Morsi protesters in central Cairo's Tahrir Square erupted into wild cheering, setting off fireworks and waving flags.
Cars drove around the capital honking their horns in celebration.
Egypt's two main religious leaders, the head of the Al-Azhar and the Coptic Pope, both expressed their support for the army's roadmap in speeches after Sisi, as did the main liberal opposition leader, Nobel peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei.
But Islamist president has described his removal as a military coup.
He was quoted his Facebook page as rejecting the army roadmap as a "military coup".
The Islamist leader was at a Republican Guard barracks surrounded by barbed wire, barriers and troops, but it was not clear whether he was under arrest.
Earlier Morsi's adviser Essam Al-Haddad described the army measures as a military coup.
In a last-ditch statement a few minutes before the army deadline, Morsi's office said a coalition government could be part of a solution to overcome the political crisis.
But opposition parties refused to negotiate with him and met instead with the commander of the armed forces.
Security sources told Reuters the authorities had sent a list of at least 40 leading members of the Brotherhood to airport police.
Morsi, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, was elected to office in June 2012.
But opponents have accused him of failure to run Egypt's affairs and favoring his allies.Supporters and opponents have staged rival protests, risking to plunge the Arab world's most populous nation into chaos.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net