Egypt's outgoing interim President Adly Mansour, known as the ‘man of the law,’ made his farewell speech Wednesday, becoming the first Egyptian head of state to leave office alive or without unrest in the Arab world’s most populous country.
During a televised farewell address to the public, Mansour, at times on the verge of tears, urged citizens to rise to their responsibilities in order to face political, economic and security challenges that had been crippling Egypt for months.
Marking the end of his 11 months in power, Mansour said Egypt had been marred by violence, a dilapidated economy and international conspiracies against it.
But he said Egypt is “in better shape” after the passing of a constitution and the election of a president, as quoted by the Associated Press.
He also urged Egyptians to distance themselves from “personal interests, group demands or party inclinations” to help Egypt recover.
Adly Mansour is the only president in Egypt’s history to leave the post alive and without an uprising.
The interim president is to hand over power to former army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who won more than 96% of votes in last week’s election.
He was appointed by the military following the ouster of his predecessor Mohammed Mursi.
Little known at the time, Mansour soon came under the spotlight, leading Egypt during a very turbulent period.
He gained the respect of Egyptians, said Saeed Sadek, a Cairo-based professor of political sociology.
“Since his first televised interview, Mansour was well received by people,” Sadek told Al Arabiya News. “He’s quite a calm man, balanced, and because he’s a man of the law, he weighs every word he utters.”
Mansour “presented himself to the people as a man who was aware of the responsibility behind his post,” Sadek added.
Mursi supporters accused Mansour of being a puppet used by the military to rule Egypt.
Sadek said Mansour played an important role and issued important decisions, but the Egyptian media made him seem to the public as a subordinate to Sisi.
“We’d see news stories about Sisi on the front page, while Mansour would be on the second,” Sadek said.
Having served as a judge, it remains unclear how Mansour reacted to the mass death sentences issued against Mursi supporters.
“Mansour can’t be viewed in relation to the mass death rulings,” Sadek said. “He wouldn’t intervene in cases being looked at by the court. Any intervention takes place by the Ministry of Justice.”
Mansour had served as the deputy head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court since 1992, and became head of the court in July 2013.
He was born in Cairo in 1945, and is married with two sons and a daughter. He received a license to practice law from Cairo University in 1967.
He is the author of several law publications, and headed constitutional court hearings in 2012.
This resulted in the scrapping of Egypt’s “political isolation law” that prohibited members of former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime from partaking in elections.
As Mansour prepares to leave his post, requests have been made to name squares after him.
One, in the governorate of Port Said, has been already named after him, Al-Fagr newspaper reported.