News / Middle East

Picking a Political Unknown to Lead Egypt Sends Powerful Message

Egypt's chief justice Adly Mansour listens to a speech during his swearing in as interim president Thursday, July 4, 2013.
Egypt's chief justice Adly Mansour listens to a speech during his swearing in as interim president Thursday, July 4, 2013.
Cecily Hilleary
Until this week, the name Adly Mansour was virtually unknown in Egypt.

Thursday, the Egyptian military swore him in as Egypt's temporary president, just two days after he was appointed to head his country’s Supreme Constitutional Court.  Who, exactly is President Mansour— and why was he chosen to lead his country through this important political transition?

Mansour’s biography is skeletal:  He was born in Cairo, studied law at Cairo University, graduating in 1967.  He  took a scholarship to study management and public affairs at the prestigious Ecole Nationale de l'Administration in Paris, graduating in 1977. Afterward, he returned to Cairo where began his rise in Egypt's judicial system.  Former president Hosni Mubarak appointed Mansour vice president of the court in 1992, which makes Mansour one of its longest-serving judges.

Ousted president Mohamed Morsi appointed him to the top judicial post after the former chief's term expired. Mansour helped draft the elections laws that set the timeframe for campaigning in the 2012 vote that brought Morsi to power, the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper reports. He served as deputy head of the Supreme Constitutional Court from 1992.

In a statement to the Al-Shabab newspaper, an offshoot of Egypt’s state-run Al-Ahram newspaper, former head of the State Council head Mohammed Hamed El Gamal describes Mansour as a quiet, calm and balanced, a fair man loyal to “the constitution and the law.”

Tawfik HamidTawfik Hamid
x
Tawfik Hamid
Tawfik Hamid
Tawfik Hamid, Senior Fellow and Chair for the Study of Islamic Radicalism at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C., believes the choice of Mansour is highly symbolic.

“It’s not the guy himself or his character that is so important,” Hamid said.  “The military literally wanted to say to the world, ‘We didn’t do this to control all power in Egypt.  We are choosing a civilian, by the will of the people.’  He is a symbol of civil leadership.”

That said, Hamid does not think Mansour has the expertise or will have the power, say, to choose who will serve as Prime Minister.  That will be left to the political parties.

In a statement announcing Mansour’s new position Wednesday, Army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Egypt’s constitution had been suspended and announced that Mansour, not the military, will have the power to make constitutional declarations until a new constitution is written and new elections can be held. He will also have some control over drafting of new election laws.

“The military obviously learned from its previous experience,” Hamid said. “So now they are saying clearly they have nothing to do with constitutional declarations.  Civilians are the ones who are in full charge of the country.”

This is a milestone for Egypt, says Hamid.  But he believes Egyptians have managed to accomplish something even more important this week.

“This is the first time people are daring to say ‘no’ to political or radical Islam,” Hamid said. “The world ‘Islam’ always used to paralyze their minds.  There was a psychological barrier that made it impossible for Egyptians to take a stand against it."

With the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood government, Hamid says that psychological barrier has been broken.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: can from: Turkey
July 06, 2013 2:37 AM
After reading about and following the events around the world,I think imperialists have already made a new “Democracy Defination”

by: MCB - 13 from: France
July 04, 2013 8:46 PM
Egyptian Military and Syria's Assad are forming an alliance against Turkey... Turkey has poisoned everything... time for the Islamic dictatorship in Turkey to go the way of Col. Qataffy and Corporal Sadam Hussain.

by: Dr. Malek Towghi from: USA
July 04, 2013 8:29 PM
For the Obama administration, it will be ignoble to call the event any thing other than an elitist military coup. I am a secularist and believe in Progressive Liberalism; that is why I voted for Obama twice. I am ashamed, however, to see secularism, liberalism and progressive thought being 'defended' by the army of Husni Mubarak. Nothing less than the restoration of Morsi as president will justify continuation of the US aid to the Egyptian army. Also, depriving the Egyptian Islamists of a right they have gained in free elections will have as disastrous consequences as our support for the Islamists (Mujahedin) in Afghanistan and Pakistan had produced.
In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 05, 2013 12:28 PM
Seems you are writing from the moon. The islamists have held Egypt to ransom in a stranglehold. Read the line again, "“The world ‘Islam’ always used to paralyze their minds....". This is slavery in their own land by the Muslim Brotherhood. What is paramount in Egypt now is to break this stranglehold. Who knows how they manipulated the people to force them to give the Muslim Brotherhood the mandate that Morsi squandered. Even right now, the protest supporters may not all be members of the brotherhood but most of them are people goaded into it because they are afraid to deny membership or they may lose something precious - which may be their lives.

by: Al Masri from: Cairo
July 04, 2013 7:12 PM
Turkey is about to subvert Egypt... Erdogan and Muslim Brotherhood are one and the same...
In Response

by: Dr. Malek Towghi from: USA
July 05, 2013 12:08 AM
I don't think Turkey has any reason and incentive to 'subvert' an intellectually, morally and financially bankrupt country. What will turkey gain by 'subverting' Egypt?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs