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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs