- (Photo: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
- (Photo: REUTERS-Suhaib Salem)
A day after Egypt overthrew its former leader, Mohamed Morsi, the chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court was sworn in as the interim president. U.S. President Barack Obama, meanwhile, called for a quick return to a democratically-elected government.
"The most glorious thing about June 30 is that it brought together everyone without discrimination or division," Adly Mansour said as he took the oath of office on Thursday, The Associated Press reported. "I offer my greetings to the revolutionary people of Egypt."
The nationwide protests against Morsi began on June 30, when millions took the streets to protest against poor economic conditions, lack of social justice and what they saw as failed leadership in their former leader, the country's first democratically-elected president who came to power last year.
Following heavy clashes over the weekend throughout Cairo, where the Muslim Brotherhood's headquarters in the capital was stormed, the army gave Morsi a 48-hour deadline to address the demands of protesters.
The former president insisted that he was prepared to sacrifice his life for his country and gave no indication that he would step down, but on Wednesday night, after the deadline had passed, military chief Abdel Fattah al Sisi declared that the constitution was being suspended and that Morsi was no longer president.
The announcement was made on state media, stirring widespread celebrations with fireworks throughout Cairo – though Morsi's supporters held counter-demonstrations, voicing their support for the ousted politician. Reports suggest that Morsi is currently under house arrest at an undisclosed location.
In the meantime, military leaders are set to meet with Muslim and Christian communities and other politicians to discuss Egypt's future. A new president is expected to be democratically elected at a date that has yet to be determined.
"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 interim president insisted that the revolution must continue until Egypt stops "producing tyrants."
CNN noted, however, that many questions remain for the African country, and the fallout of what many have described as a "coup" is yet to come. Morsi's supporters insist that despite the military's actions, he remains the country's legitimate president. Fears are that clashes between supporters and those who opposed Morsi might spread, as they have already claimed dozens of lives.
"I don't think that the military's so-called road map is actually going to move smoothly," said Hani Sabra, director of the Middle Eastern arm of the Eurasia Group. "I think there are a lot of challenges it faces."
The Obama administration released an official statement on Wednesday, expressing its hopes that Egypt's future will ultimately be determined by its own people, but shared "deep concerns" over the army's decision to remove Morsi.
"I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President [Morsi] and his supporters," Obama said.
"[T]he goal of any political process should be a government that respects the rights of all people, majority and minority; that institutionalizes the checks and balances upon which democracy depends; and that places the interests of the people above party or faction.
"No transition to democracy comes without difficulty, but in the end it must stay true to the will of the people. An honest, capable and representative government is what ordinary Egyptians seek and what they deserve," the U.S. president added. "The longstanding partnership between the United States and Egypt is based on shared interests and values, and we will continue to work with the Egyptian people to ensure that Egypt's transition to democracy succeeds."