(CAIRO) -- In his boldest move yet since becoming Egypt's president, Mohammed Morsi on Sunday called for the resignations of the head of the country's armed forces and his deputy.
The announcement for the removal of Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi came Sunday from a presidential spokesman at the same time a constitutional amendment that the military previously established to limit Morsi’s powers was also suspended.
Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the military have been at odds since he was elected president last June.
Tantawi became Egypt's interim ruler after former President Hosni Mubarak was forced out by a popular revolution 18 months ago. Among other things, Tantawi spear-headed a move that consolidated more power within the military, making Morsi not much more than a figurehead.
Tantawi and armed forces chief Sami Ananalso went further than that by dissolving the democratically-elected parliament that would have been controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood.
With new jobs to fill, Morsi named Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sissi as defense minister and commander of the armed forces while also appointing senior judge Mahmoud Mekki as his vice president to help with legal challenges destined to arrive.
Explaining the reason for the shake-up, which he claimed had nothing to do with embarrassing anyone, Morsi said, "I want the armed forces to devote themselves to a mission that is holy to all of us, which is protecting the nation."
Last week, Morsi took other drastic measures to establish his authority following the deaths of 16 soldiers by militants in the province of North Sinai.
His office announced a series of firings, including Egypt's intelligence chief and the heads of the military police and presidential guard. North Sinai's governor was also relieved of his duties.
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