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Egyptian Politics - July 2013 Coup

On 03 July 2013, Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced that in line with the military's ultimatum, the country's new constitution would be suspended and the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Adli Mansour, would be given authority to conduct the country's affairs. Under the old constitution that had existed under President Mubarak, in the event there was no president, the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court would become the interim president. The Supreme Constitutional Court had previously ruled that the new constitution drafted under President Morsi was illegal. The head of the Supreme Constitutional Court was to continue to run the country until the constitution could be amended and new presidential and parliamentary elections held.

In addition to the announcement of the new roadmap on 3 July 2013, it was also reported that members of the Muslim Brotherhood's leadership had been arrested. There were initially conflicting reports about the whereabouts of President Morsi himself, but there was no clear indication of whether he would be detained as part of the military's plan. The military insisted that freedom of the press would be respected, so long as it was in keeping with the national interest, and that it would respond with any means necessary to prevent violence and other attempts to disturb the peace while its plan was carried out. In the announcement, al-Sisi also made it clear that it was the position of the military that they were not intervening directly in the political process, but merely responding to a call from the people to find a resolution to the ongoing political crisis. Al-Sisi outlined how the military had sought to facilitate a negotiated settlement in June 2013 and had met with President Morsi numerous times, blaming his intransigence for their decision to issue the ultimatum and proceed with their roadmap for resolving the crisis. On 4 July 2013, Adli Mansour was officially sworn in as the country's interim leader.

On 6 July 2013, it was reported that Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei was slated to be sworn-in as interim prime minister by interim President Adly Mansour. A presidential spokesman said, however, that there were several options for the job and the presidency had to take account of opposition to ElBaradei. The Nour Party, Egypt's second largest Islamist group, opposed ElBaradei and threatened to withdraw its support for the military-backed government. The interim government subsequently backed further away from the appointment of ElBaradei on 7 July 2013, but the Nour Party still withdrew from talks with the new government on 8 July 2013 in protest over the deaths of dozens of protesters outside of a facility belonging to Egypt's Republican Guard, where former President Mohamed Morsi was believed to be held.

On 8 July 2013, interim President Adly Mansour outlined his transition plan for Egypt, which notably required the establishment within 15 days of a panel to amend the constitution drafted under former President Mohamed Morsi. After the panel had drafted its changes, they would be put to a referendum, expected to be organized within 5 months. This would then clear the way for new parliamentary elections within 2 months of that referendum, which at the time it was hoped would be held by early 2014. After a new parliament was elected, an election for a new president could be held. The Muslim Brotherhood immediately rejected the plans, continue to call for President Morsi's reinstatement. The Tamarod protest movement also called Mansour's decree dictatorial and a "setback for the revolution," saying the movement had not been consulted and that the decree gave the interim government far too much power. The Tamarod movement suggested it would seek to submit its own recommendations to President Mansour.

In addition to the announcement of President Mansour's transition plan on 8 July 2013, the interim government also continued to look for a candidate for interim prime minister that would be acceptable to all parties. The major impediment to this continued to be the opposition to proposed candidates from the hard-line Islamist Nour Party. On 9 July 2013, there were reports that Nour might be prepared to accept the appointment of economist Samir Radwan, who the Nour Party felt would fit its requirement for a neutral technocrat. On 9 July 2013, it was announced that the interim government had appointed former finance minister Hazem el-Beblawi as interim Prime Minister and Mohamed ElBaradei as interim Vice President. It was unclear whether or not all members of the the Tamarod movement, most importantly the Nour Party, would accept the appointments. Nour had already expressed its opposition to the appointment of ElBaradei as Prime Minister.

Egyptian military chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi strongly criticized the United States for refusing to explicitly endorse his 03 July 2013 ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. In a rare interview with a foreign news organization published 02 August 2013, an angry Sissi told The Washington Post that the Obama administration "turned (its) back on the Egyptians, and they won't forget that." In the interview, Sissi, who also serves as defense minister, urged the United States to press Egyptian Islamists to end a month-long series of protests and sit-ins against the ouster of Morsi. Sissi told The Washington Post that he does not aspire to authority, but he also did not explicitly rule out running for president in the future.

In a separate nationally televised address, interior ministry spokesman Hany Abdel-Latif promised the protesters "safe passage" if they leave the camps. But, he also accused Islamist protest organizers of brainwashing the demonstrators and being involved in murders, torture and abductions. Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said the government has "no desire" to use force to clear two protest camps occupied by tens of thousands of Morsi supporters in Cairo.

Secretary of State John Kerry gave his approval for Egypt's military ouster of President Mohammed Morsi in an interview 01 August 2013 to Pakistan's Geo News. "In effect, they were restoring democracy," Kerry said of Egypt's military. "The military did not take over, to the best of our judgment—so far, so far—to run the country. There's a civilian government.... "The military was asked to intervene by millions and millions of people, all of whom were afraid of the descent into chaos, into violence." “Does Secretary Kerry accept Defense Secretary Hagel to step in and remove Obama if large protests take place in America?” a spokesman of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Gehad el-Haddad, asked.

This came as civilian officials warned of plans to disperse pro-Morsi encampments in Cairo. “The last thing that we want is more violence,” Kerry said 02 August 2013. “The temporary government has a responsibility with respect to demonstrators to give them the space to be able to demonstrate in peace. But at the same time, the demonstrators have a responsibility not to stop everything from proceeding in Egypt.”

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