Cairo -

Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi took the oath of office on Saturday to become the country's first freely elected leader and its first head of state since Hosni Mubarak's overthrow last year.

“I swear by the Almighty God to sincerely preserve the republican order and to respect the constitution and law, and completely care for the people's interest,” he said at the ceremony in the Constitutional Court.

The Islamist, in a suit and burgundy tie, promised to lead a “civil, constitutional and modern state” in a short speech after taking the oath.

Morsi, the winner of a June 16-17 election run-off, was forced to take his oath at the court instead of in parliament after the military disbanded the Islamist-led house following a court order earlier this month.

He symbolically took his oath on Friday before tens of thousands of supporters in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the revolt that overthrew Mubarak on February 11, 2011. - Sapa-AFP