With president Mohamed Morsi being variously described as ‘deposed’ and ‘disgraced’ by the Egyptian army, the leadership of the country has at the moment been taken over by Adly Mansour.
Though the army is promising that democratic elections will take place soon, it could be some time till that happens since pro-Morsi Egyptians form at least 25% of the population, and they are making their voices heard in street protests as well. Till then, the 67-year-old Mansour is leading the country through a very volatile period.
Mansour was unknown outside Egypt, and would have been unrecognisable to most of the protesters that thronged the streets of Cairo for the past few days.
Mansour had been the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court only for two days when he was promoted to being the leader of Egypt by the army. Mansour was, in fact, elected by Morsi himself to the top judicial post. Since the constitution has now been suspended by the army, that post has now catapulted him from holding immense judicial power to holding immense political power.
It’s not known exactly what Mansour’s beliefs are, or how aligned he is with the military, which has controlled the government for the larger part of the twentieth century in Egypt. But the court in Egypt is known to be largely neutral, as Mark Lynch pointed out in this column for Foreign Policy: “The Court, created in its current form in 1979, built a record in the 1980s and 1990s that earned it international attention for activism on several fronts, especially its willingness to take the vague human rights provisions of Egypt’s constitutional text and give them real meaning,” wrote Lynch. “The Court also took an assertive role in several hot political issues, such as the role of Islamic law and election administration.”
With this background, Mansour might be the closest thing Egypt could get to a neutral leader right now, at least for the time being.
Mansour served as a judge under the Hosni Mubarak regime, and is so in a sense a part of the old guard, though he served mostly in the state-sponsored religious courts (which deliver fatwas and edicts on observance), as well as the civil and criminal courts. He was deputy head of the Supreme Constitutional Court from 1992 onwards. Mansour helped draft the electoral laws around the time of Morsi’s election, and he also set a legal timeframe for electoral campaigning.
Updated Date: Jul 04, 2013 17:19:18 IST