On behalf of the ALDE group, Guy Verhofstadt this morning congratulates Mohamed Morsi on his historic victory in the presidential elections in Egypt. Morsi is the first president in Egypt's history to be democratically elected and the first non-military President. However, as the army has dissolved the Egyptian Parliament and has assumed extended legislative and executive powers, there is clearly still a long way to go before Egypt is a fully functioning democracy.
Guy Verhofstadt: "Whether you like Morsi or not, his election is a historic step along Egypt's path to democracy. However democracy is more than just about holding elections. The fact that the army has assumed significant legislative powers and barred elected MPs from entry to the Parliament remains unacceptable. Therefore we urge HR/VP Cathy Ashton to increase the pressure on the Supreme Council of Armed Forces to respect the people's will. If the EU is serious about its 'more for more' strategy, it cannot accept the way the army has acted."
Edward McMillan-Scott (UK Lib Dem), Vice President of the European Parliament with responsibility for democracy and human rights declared: "We welcome the fact that President Morsi declared in his first presidential speech to be the president of all Egyptians. Although many liberals do distrust the Muslim Brotherhood, we should give Morsi now the benefit of the doubt to heal the wounds in Egyptian society. Words alone will not suffice but rather he must prove by his actions and appointments that he really intends to maintain the secular basis of Egypt which guarantees all rights for Copts, liberals, women and political opponents. We will continue to monitor developments in Egypt very closely." Marietje Schaake (D66,Netherlands) added: "We ask the new president to abolish the military trials and the martial law immediately. It is unacceptable that so many people are still in prison for political convictions and it is even more unacceptable that even today people are being sentenced without a proper trial. Egypt will only be able to claim to be democratic if these military trials come to an end and the human rights of all Egyptians are respected."