Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi defended his decisions late Sunday night denying he was trying to marginalize individuals or institutions by setting aside provisions granting broad powers to the army and retiring Field Marshal Tantawi. He said all these decision are for the interests of Egypt.
"The decisions I made today were not aimed at certain people and had not intended to marginalize institutions, and it was not my purpose to restrict freedoms," said Morsi in a speech delivered on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan.
"I did not want to send negative messages about anyone, but my goal was to serve this nation and its people," he said while hailing the work of the armed forces. "I want them to concentrate on their mission, protecting the nation," he said.
Morsi said he wanted "to ensure that we move towards a better future with a new generation and a long-awaited new blood".
Morsi, a senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, said it was his authority over the country to retire Tantawi, former defense minister in charge of the transition after the fall of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, and General Sami Anan, Chief of Staff. Both men were appointed as advisers to the president.
These decisions have caused surprise and excitement within political circles and on social networks, who asked whether Tantawi had accepted this move without complaint. "It has been done in cooperation and after consultations with the armed forces," responded a military source, quoted by the state news agency MENA, denying the "rumors of negative reactions (in the army ) to changes in the conduct of armed forces ".
The independent analyst Issandr al-Amrani, said "Morsi actually, on paper, has dictatorial powers". "The question is how he will use them," he wrote on his blog.
"Given the circumstances, it is the right time to make changes in the military," said Murad Ali, a senior official of the Party for Freedom and Justice (PLJ), the armed wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. "This is a strong president, and he exercises his authority," he told AFP.