Adly Mahmoud Mansour, head of Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court,… (Khaled Deouki / AFP/ Getty…)
CAIRO -- Egypt swore in an interim leader Thursday after a military coup toppled the country’s first freely elected president, raising fresh uncertainty over the formation of a coalition government to ease deep political divisions and prevent economic collapse.
Judge Adly Mahmoud Mansour, head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, took the oath of the presidency in a court chamber along the Nile. He replaced Mohamed Morsi, the nation’s first Islamist president, who was forced from office after refusing a military order to compromise with the opposition to end months of unrest.
The inauguration of a new leader was the latest political maneuver in a tumultuous 24 hours that were also marked by clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi supporters that left 10 dead across the country and the arrest of two prominent members of the deposed president’s Muslim Brotherhood party.
After his swearing in, Mansour said the youth-inspired protests that began Sunday and ended with Morsi’s overthrow “corrected the path of the glorious revolution that took place on Jan. 25, 2011."
He added the Egyptian people "are the source of all powers" and that the greatest thing that happened on June 30 is that it "united the people without discrimination or differentiation."
Little is known about Mansour, 67, an administrator and judge who is expected to be a transitional figure in the country’s tortuous path toward democracy that began with the 2011 uprising that overthrew longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Mansour, sworn in in the same chamber where Morsi was inaugurated last year, heads the court that often battled the Brotherhood’s attempts to increase its hold on the government.
Morsi was reportedly under house arrest. But he and the Brotherhood remained defiant, insisting they were Egypt’s legitimate authority. The coup “drives Egypt backward,” Morsi said on his Facebook page.
Gen. Abdel Fattah Sisi, commander of the armed forces, sought to calm the country Wednesday night, saying religious and civilian leaders "have agreed on a road map for the future that includes initial steps to achieve the building of a strong Egyptian society that is cohesive and does not exclude anyone, and ends the state of tension and division."
But the military has not announced a time frame for holding new elections or rewriting the constitution. Mansour said the nation will move ahead.
"We are looking forward to parliamentary and presidential elections that represent the true will of the people,” he said. “This is the only safe way into a brighter tomorrow, more free, more democratic, greater in justice, more conscious, and more elevated in behavior."
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