Mohamed Morsi was sworn in as Egypt’s first civilian head of state in June 2011 and the first Islamist to lead the Arab world’s most populous nation.
Born in Sharqiya, in the Nile Delta, Morsi was a high-ranking figure in the Muslim Brotherhood, but he was not widely known among the Egyptian public.
An engineer by trade, he studied in the US before returning to Egypt to head the engineering department at Zagazig University.
He was a member of the Committee to Resist Zionism before becoming a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s guidance bureau in the mid-1990s.
He was elected to the lower house of parliament as an independent candidate in 2000 and served two terms. Morsi lost his reelection bid in 2005, and was arrested shortly afterwards for political reasons.
After the revolution, Morsi was appointed head of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s allied political party [and the biggest winner in last year’s parliamentary elections].
He registered for the presidential race at the last minute, when it seemed that Khairat al-Shater – the Brotherhood’s first choice – might be disqualified because of his past criminal convictions.
Morsi has struggled to overcome the stigma of being the Muslim Brotherhood’s second-choice candidate; his largest base of support will come from within the movement.
He stepped down as the head of the Muslim Brotherhood after being elected and vowed that under his leadership, Egypt would be an inclusive, civilian state.
In a rousing speech on the day he took his oath of office, Morsi promised dignity and social justice and swore to uphold the constitution and “the republican system”, reciting the words of an oath which he will now formally take in front of the supreme constitutional court.
He insisted that “no institution will be above the people”, critiquing an army which has sought to shield itself from parliamentary oversight. “You are the source of authority,” he told the crowd.