Feb 13, 5:49 AM EST

Amid multitude of woes, Egypt leader says democracy is back

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CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's president says his country has established a democratic system and rebuilt constitutional institutions after years of turmoil following the 2011 uprising.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi declared the transition complete in a 32-minute address to parliament on Saturday, while noting that Egypt is still struggling to rebuild its economy and confront Islamic extremists.

Rights groups says el-Sissi's rule has been marked by a deep erosion of freedoms, with thousands of mainly Islamist dissidents in jail, severe restrictions on public protests and a disturbing pattern of police brutality.

El-Sissi led the July 2013 military overthrow of Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist who was Egypt's first freely elected president. El-Sissi then retired from the military and was elected president the following year.

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