Mansour sworn in as head of interim government

Ousted leader Mohamed Morsi under house arrest

Egyptian judge Adli Mansour vows to uphold "the values of the revolution" as he is sworn in as the country's interim president.

Egypt’s chief justice Adly Mansour (67) has been sworn as interim president to take charge of the transition from exclusive Muslim Brotherhood rule to a pluralistic multiparty democratic regime.

He served as deputy head of the court since 1992. Regarded as a non-political figure, he helped draft the presidential election law that brought ousted president Mohamed Morsi to power last year.

Although Egyptians cast ballots in parliamentary and presidential elections and a constitutional referendum over the past 28 months, Egypt has not become a democracy.

The country is still in the grip of a revolution which was stalled first by the generals, who assumed power after president Hosni Mubarak was deposed, and then by the Muslim Brotherhood.


The army had to act before the situation in the streets became anarchy and criminal elements began to take advantage of the lack of security.

The military command issued its ultimatum at the behest of civilian revolutionaries.

Overnight, ten Egyptians were killed in clashes between anti- and pro-Morsi elements in Alexandria and elsewhere. The toll for the past six days, under 30 is, far lower than the 846 killed during the 18-day day uprising in 2011.

The police and security services no longer interfere - as they did under Mr Mubarak - with demonstrations, including those mounted by the pro-Morsi camp - that have been huge and energetic but largely peaceful.

The army has surrounded the largest of the loyalist demonstrations - now protests against the white “coup” - to contain them and prevent attacks by people seeking revenge against the Brotherhood for assaults by its armed men on opposition activists.

Under house arrest in the Republican Guard headquarters near Ittihadiya Palace, Mr Morsi issued a defiant statement following the announcement of the roadmap by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi but was promtply cut off. His is being held incommunicado.

The army has closed down the Brotherhood’s television channel and al-Jazeera’s live streaming channel (Mubasher).

The Egyptian army yesterday toppled president Mohamed Morsi and replaced his Muslim Brotherhood-dominated regime with a transitional government charged with preparing for early presidential and parliamentary elections.

Yesterday, US president Barack Obama said he is “deeply concerned” by the events and urged Egypt’s military to return to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible.

“The voices of all those who have protested peacefully must be heard -- including those who welcomed today’s developments, and those who have supported president Morsi,”

Mr Obama said in a statement released by the White House. “I urge all sides to avoid violence and come together to ensure the lasting restoration of Egypt’s democracy.”

The announcement was made by army chief Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, flanked by opposition spokesman Mohamed ElBaradei, Egypt’s senior cleric, Sheikh al-Azhar Ahmed al- Tayeb, and Coptic Orthodox Christian Pope Tawadros II, who had negotiated the details of the proposed roadmap during the day.

Gen Sisi made the all-too-pertinent point that the “armed forces will always be out of politics”, in an effort to reassure Egyptians who lived under military rule from 1952 until 2012. He said the armed forces had only intervened at this time be- cause they had been called on by the Egyptian people to do so.

Reconciliation commission

Dr ElBaradei spoke of amending the controversial Brotherhood-drafted constitution and establishing a reconciliation commission to tackle the deep polarisation of society between religious fundamentalists and secularists.

Representatives of the Tamarod (Rebel) movement behind the current protests and the ultraconservative Salafi Nour Party also took part in the discussions.

The opposition co-ordinating committee rejected efforts by foreign governments to divide the armed forces from the popular movement and portray the day’s developments as a coup. In particular, the committee castigated what it said was Washington’s “standing by the Muslim Brotherhood for its own [political] interests”.

Although the Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, was invited to attend, it refused. Nevertheless, political analysts believe that the Brotherhood will have to concede power and join in the transition if it wants to survive as an organised political force on the Egyptian scene.


The object of the consultations between the army, the opposition and religious figures was to demonstrate that the ousting of Mr Morsi and the Brotherhood-dominated government was not a military coup but the removal of a president deemed unfit to rule by the army, the opposition, civil society, and millions of Egyptians who took to the streets to protest against his leadership.

Before the announcement of the roadmap, the military deployed armoured personnel carriers, tanks and troops around pro-Morsi demonstrations with the intention of containing Brotherhood supporters and preventing clashes with opposition activists and remnants of the regime of the former president, Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled in 2011.

Serious concern

There was serious concern in Cairo that Brotherhood supporters could attempt to resist the ousting of Mr Morsi and the Brotherhood, particularly after they declared they would defend the country’s “legitimately elected president” with their blood and their lives. This prompted fears of civil war.

On the evening before it acted, the army also took control of state-owned daily Al-Ahram; briefed the public on developments; and stressed that the military did not seek to get involved in politics as it did following the fall of Mr Mubarak. It called on Egyptians to have faith in God, the people and the army.

Michael Jansen

Michael Jansen

Michael Jansen contributes news from and analysis of the Middle East to The Irish Times