CAIRO (AP) — The chief justice of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court was sworn in Thursday as the nation’s interim president, taking over hours after the military ousted the Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
Adly Mansour took the oath of office at the Nile-side Constitutional Court in a ceremony broadcast live on state television. According to military decree, Mansour will serve as Egypt’s interim leader until a new president is elected. A date for that vote has yet to be set.
Dressed in a dark blue suit and blue tie, Mansour used his first remarks as interim leader to praise the massive street demonstrations that led to Morsi’s ouster. He also hailed the youth behind the protests that began on June 30.
“The most glorious thing about June 30 is that it brought together everyone without discrimination or division,” he said. “I offer my greetings to the revolutionary people of Egypt.”
“I look forward to parliamentary and presidential elections held with the genuine and authentic will of the people,” Mansour said. “The youth had the initiative and the noblest thing about this glorious event is that it was an expression of the nation’s conscience and an embodiment of its hopes and ambitions. It was never a movement seeking to realize special demands or personal interests.”
The revolution, he said, must continue, so “we stop producing tyrants.”
Mansour replaced Morsi, who was Egypt’s first democratically elected president but was overthrown by the military on Wednesday after a tumultuous year in office. Morsi is under house arrest at an undisclosed location.
The military, in a statement read by army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on Wednesday evening, also suspended the Islamist-drafted constitution and called for new elections. Morsi has denounced the action as a “full coup” by the generals.
Millions of anti-Morsi protesters around the country erupted in celebrations after the televised announcement by the army chief on Wednesday evening. Fireworks burst over crowds in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where men and women danced, shouting, “God is great” and “Long live Egypt.”
That fact that Egypt’s interim president comes from the Constitutional Court adds a symbolic sting to Morsi’s ouster.
The Islamist leader and his Muslim Brotherhood backers had repeatedly clashed with the judiciary while in power, accusing the judges of being loyalists of former autocrat Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in a 2011 uprising, and saying they seek to undermine Egypt’s shift to democratic rule.
The judges, meanwhile, had repeatedly challenged the Brotherhood’s policies and what many in Egypt considered the group’s march to power. The Constitutional Court dissolved the Islamist-dominated parliament in June last year, saying it was illegally elected.
Even with an interim leader now in place, Egypt remains on an uncertain course following Morsi’s ouster, and the possibility of further confrontation still looms. Beyond the fears over violence, some protesters are concerned whether an army-installed administration can lead to real democracy.