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Presidents and Pretenders

Meet Egypt's New Government

Egypt's interim President Adli Mansour attends a meeting with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns at El-Thadiya presidential palace in Cairo, July 15, 2013. Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Courtesy Reuters

On July 18, the tenth day of Ramadan, Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour, addressed the nation. The speech lasted ten minutes and was delivered in eloquent Arabic. Egyptians rejoiced. After two and a half politically grueling years during which, by virtually every measure, Egyptians became worse off than they had been before Hosni Mubarak’s 2011 fall, it had come to this: celebrating because the leader of the moment gave a speech that was short and intelligible. 

In the wake of the July 3 military intervention that brought Mohamed Morsi’s presidency to a premature end, Egypt has a new opportunity to build a more just political order. But that task is just as difficult now, if not more so, than it was in February 2011. The Muslim Brotherhood and its poor decision-making, incompetence, and authoritarianism in the last two and half years did make Egypt’s problems worse, but it did not

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