In an emotional farewell speech, Egypt’s outgoing interim president on Wednesday said the public must rise to its responsibilities in the face of enormous challenges in a country he said has been scarred by violence, a dilapidated economy, political confusion and international conspiracies threatening its identity and territorial integrity.
Adly Mansour is closing a nearly a year as president. The head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, he was installed as interim president under a military transition plan in July after the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, who had faced massive protests after a year in office.
Mansour now hands over office to former army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who oversaw Morsi’s removal and who won last week’s presidential elections in a landslide. El-Sissi is to be sworn in on Sunday.
“It was a year of formidable and immense responsibility. As an ordinary citizen, I never imagined the true extent of the burden, the enormity of the challenges,” Mansour said, listing Egypt’s woes in a speech that echoed el-Sissi’s campaign theme that Egyptians must put end turmoil to allow reconstruction.
He said the country is “in better shape” today after the passing of an amended constitution and the presidential elections.
Mansour becomes Egypt’s second president to peacefully hand over office to a successor the only other one being another interim figure, Sufi Abu Taleb, who served for around a week between President Anwar Sadat, who was assassinated by Islamic militants in 1981, and Hosni Mubarak, who ruled for 29 years until he was toppled in a 2011 popular uprising.
Egypt’s first president after a 1952 coup against the monarchy, Mohammed Neguib, was removed and put under house arrest by his successor, Gamal Abdel-Nasser, who died in office.
During Mansour’s presidency, Morsi supporters refused to recognise the new authorities, holding near daily protests that were met with a fierce crackdown.
Security forces stormed two sit-ins by Morsi supporters six weeks after his ouster, leaving hundreds dead. In the months that followed, thousands of Morsi loyalists and Islamists were rounded up, and most are facing trials for inciting violence and belonging to a group that the government now considers a terrorist organisation.
In the meantime, a violent low-level insurgency in the Sinai spread to other parts of Egypt, targeting mostly police and military, leaving also hundreds dead.