Egyptian judge sworn in as interim president

Adli Mansour was sworn in as Egypt’s interim president Thursday morning, according to state media, after the Egyptian army on Wednesday toppled President Mohammed Morsi and suspended the country’s constitution.

Mansour, who was appointed chief justice of the country’s Supreme Constitutional Court three days ago, said in a speech following the swearing-in ceremony that he is looking forward to elections, adding that "the great Egyptian people are the one who gives orders."

Security sources on Thursday told the BBC that the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, which supports Morsi, has been arrested. Egypt's state news agency reported earlier that arrest warrants had been issued for Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and his deputy, Khairat el-Shater.

The Egyptian army announced Wednesday that it  would be installing a technocratic government.

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The televised remarks of Army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi capped 48 hours of tense uncertainty as the military demanded the Muslim Brotherhood and its opponents resolve their differences.

Millions of people have taken to the streets of Cairo and cities across Egypt demanding the removal of the country's first freely elected leader, just one year after he was voted into a four-year term. 

“The armed forces have listened to the message and have received the call” of the Egyptian people, Sisi said.

The military said it hasn't conducted a coup but rather is helping midwife a civilian transition with the support of the political opposition and Muslim and Coptic leaders. The army met with opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei for emergency consultations Wednesday morning as the deadline to its ultimatum approached.

Late Wednesday, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood tweeted that Morsi and "most members" of his presidential team have been put under house arrest.

In his first statement since the overthrew, President Obama late Wednesday repeated that the United States was not taking sides in the dispute and avoided using the word “coup.” He said he was “very concerned” by developments and called on the Egyptian military to quickly restore power to a “democratically elected civilian government.”

Earlier, the Obama administration said it would not take sides in the standoff between Egypt’s military and Morsi.

“I think I've been very clear to the point where you're probably tired of me saying that we haven't taken sides and don't plan to take sides here,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

An unidentified U.S. official told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the State Department has ordered nonessential personnel and families to leave Egypt.

Sisi said the chief justice of Egypt's constitutional court would be replacing Morsi. He promised early presidential elections and said a “national technocrat government able and capable that will have full powers to handle the current phase” would rule until then.

Sisi said the army had repeatedly called for a “national dialogue” since last year, but that its overtures had been “rejected” by Morsi. He said Morsi's defiant speech early Wednesday vowing to remain in power had “necessitated” the military's intervention.

His remarks were greeted by fireworks and jubilation in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the revolt against his rule.

Muslim Brotherhood members, meanwhile, could be seen waving their fists and batons, raising concerns that the Arab world's most populous country could descend into violence.

"The Egyptian military has long been a key partner of the United States and a stabilizing force in the region, and is perhaps the only trusted national institution in Egypt today," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said.

"In the difficult days ahead, it will be important for Egyptian authorities to safeguard the rights, interests, and security of all of Egypt's citizens," he added. "For their part, President Morsi must put the interests of Egypt's diverse population ahead of the interests of himself or the Muslim Brotherhood.

"The Egyptian people have made clear that President Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood government has threatened the pluralistic democracy for which they called two years ago. As President Obama has said, democracy is about more than elections. It is important that Egypt's leaders listen to their people, whose calls for a transparent and pluralistic democratic process should be respected,” said Cantor.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) called Morsi an “obstacle” to the kind of democracy Egyptians wanted after expelling former leader Hosni Mubarak two years ago.

“It is unfortunate that Morsi did not heed popular demands for early elections after a year of his incompetent leadership and attempting a power grab for the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said in a statement.

“I am hopeful that his departure will reopen the path to a better future for Egypt, and I encourage the military and all political parties to cooperate in the peaceful establishment of democratic institutions and new elections that lead to an Egypt where minority rights are protected,” Royce added.

“But make no mistake about it, Egypt is in for very difficult days."

—This story was originally published on Friday at 3:27 p.m. and last updated on Saturday at 10:17 a.m.


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