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

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy 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.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid