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Egypt: New interim president sworn in as Morsi is ousted in 'coup'

President Barack Obama urged the military to hand back control to a democratic, civilian government but stopped short of calling it a coup d’etat.

File image of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.
File image of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.
Image: (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, File)

THE TOP JUDGE of Egypt’s constitutional court, Adli Mansour, is to be sworn in as interim leader, hours after Egypt’s first democratically elected president was overthrown by the military.

Mohammed Morsi was ousted after just one year in office by the same kind of Arab Spring uprising that brought the Islamist leader to power.

Army chief Gen Abdul Fattah al-Sisi announced the new leader in a TV address on Wednesday evening, in what Mr Morsi said was a military coup. The armed forces also suspended the Islamist-drafted constitution and called for new elections.

Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi addressing the nation on Egyptian State Television saying the president is replaced by chief justice of constitutional court. (AP Photo/Egyptian State Television)

Millions of anti-Morsi protesters around the country erupted in celebrations after the televised announcement by the army chief. Fireworks burst over crowds in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where men and women danced, shouting, “God is great” and “Long live Egypt.”

House arrest

A spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood party, said Morsi was under house arrest at a Presidential Guard facility where he had been residing, and 12 presidential aides also were under house arrest.

The army took control of state media and blacked out TV stations operated by the Muslim Brotherhood. The head of the Brotherhood’s political wing was arrested.

The ouster of Morsi throws Egypt on an uncertain course, with a danger of further confrontation. It came after four days of mass demonstrations even larger than those of the 2011 Arab Spring that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Egyptian protesters chant slogans against Egyptian Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Wednesday. (AP Photo/ Manu Brabo)

Egyptians were angered that Morsi was giving too much power to his Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists and had failed to tackle the country’s mounting economic woes.

Beyond the fears over violence, some protesters are concerned whether an army-installed administration can lead to real democracy.

Obama – “deeply concerned”

President Barack Obama urged the military to hand back control to a democratic, civilian government as soon as possible but stopped short of calling it a coup d’etat.

He said he was “deeply concerned” by the military’s move to topple Morsi’s government and suspend Egypt’s constitution. He said he was ordering the U.S. government to assess what the military’s actions meant for U.S. foreign aid to Egypt — $1.5 billion a year in military and economic assistance.

Opponents of Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi celebrate as they light flares and wave national flags and his picture with Arabic reads, “leave”. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

The U.S. wasn’t taking sides in the conflict, committing itself only to democracy and respect for the rule of law, Obama said.

On Monday, army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi had given Morsi an ultimatum to find a solution to meet the demands of anti-government demonstrators in 48 hours, but the 62-year-old former engineer defiantly insisted on his legitimacy from an election he won with 51.7 percent of the vote in June 2012.

- AP

IN PICTURES: Egypt protesters erupt in joy as army ousts Morsi>
More: Four killed as Egypt security forces’ failure to stop protest deaths criticised as ‘suspicious’>

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Associated Press

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