Mohamed Morsi

Mohamed Morsi Biography

Mohamed Morsi became Egypt's first democratically elected president in June 2012, succeeding Hosni Mubarak. He served in that position until July 2013, when he was ousted by Egypt's armed forces.


Born in Sharqiya on the Nile River delta, in Northern Egypt, on August 20, 1951, Mohamed Morsi became a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1977. Morsi served as a Member of Parliament from 2000 to 2005, and was elected as president of Egypt in June 2012, succeeding former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. On July 3, 2013, Morsi was officially ousted as president by Egypt's armed forces.

Early Life

Born on August 20, 1951, in Sharqiya, located on the Nile River delta in Northern Egypt, Mohamed Morsi studied engineering at Cairo University, and received a master's degree in 1978. He then moved to the United States to study, and received a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Southern California in 1982.

Later that year, Morsi began working as an assistant professor at California State University, Northridge—a position he held until 1985. Two of his five children were born in California during this time, and are therefore U.S. citizens by birth. In 1985, Morsi returned to Egypt to head the engineering department at Zagazig University.

Muslim Brotherhood

In 1977, Morsi became a member of the Muslim Brotherhood—a political, Islam-based organization that played a major role in the Egyptian nationalist movement. Morsi served as a Member of Parliament from 2000 to 2005, as an independent, since the Brotherhood was forbidden to nominate candidates for office, according to policies implemented by former President Hosni Mubarak. Morsi later served as a member of the Brotherhood's Guidance Bureau. In 2011, he founded the Freedom and Justice Party, for which he served as president.

Morsi was arrested several times under Hosni Mubarak's regime for various protests; he spent seven months behind bars in 2006, and was detained for a brief period in 2011, along with several other Brotherhood leaders.

2012 Egyptian Presidential Campaign

On June 24, 2012, Mohamed Morsi made history when he was elected the new president-elect of Egypt. Morsi is the first democratically elected president in Egypt's history, and the first Islamist to lead an Arab country. Morsi came in slightly ahead of his opponent, former Prime Minister Ahmed Safik, receiving 51.73 percent of the vote. Fulfilling a campaign promise, Morsi resigned from his membership to the Muslim Brotherhood immediately after election results were announced.

Morsi is Egypt's fifth president, and the first leader from outside of the military. The election marks a pivotal point in Egypt's history, and follows a tumultuous transition to restore political powers and establish a new government after Mubarak's 30-year reign. In his victory speech, Morsi pledged to be "a president for all Egyptians," adding, "We will face together the strife and conspiracies that target our national unity."

Presidential Challenges

Morsi acted swiftly once taking office. In August 2012, he fired some of the army's leading officers. Morsi moved toward grasping more power for himself as Egypt's president that November. He declared that his orders were beyond the scrutiny of the country's judges until Egypt had a new constitution. This move sparked much outrage, including public protests throughout the country. People attacked offices of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom & Justice Party.

Members of the country's judiciary went on strike, and some of Morsi's own advisers quit their positions due to this bold power grab. Morsi's actions also had an impact on the Egyptian economy, causing a drop in its stock market. Under pressure from his constituents and from other leaders around the globe, Morsi agreed to meet with the Supreme Judicial Council to discuss this situation.

By the following year, however, Morsi had grown more dogmatic and Egypt's political environment had worsened. In July 2013, millions of protesters gathered outside of Morsi's presidential palace calling for his removal from office. And Morsi refused to adhere to an army ultimatum requiring the president to share power or step down.

In a statement, the president's office claimed that Morsi had not been consulted before the ultimatum deadline was set, and that Morsi had his own plan for national reconciliation. "If we changed someone in office who [was elected] according to constitutional legitimacy—well, there will be people opposing the new president too, and a week or a month later they will ask him to step down," Morsi stated just hours before the ultimatum deadline was set, according to an article by The Guardian. "There is no room for any talk against this constitutional legitimacy. There can be demonstrations and people expressing their opinions. But what's critical in all this is the adoption and application of the constitution."

Ousted as President

On July 3, 2013, Morsi was officially ousted as president by Egypt's armed forces. Following the army's announcement, which was televised, millions of protesters celebrated countrywide, reportedly shouting phrases like "God is great" and "Long live Egypt."

Not long after the announcement was made, Morsi stated that the Egyptian military's measures "represent a full coup categorically rejected by all the free men of our nation" via his Twitter page. Additionally, just hours after the announcement, Morsi was placed under house arrest, confined at the Republican guard headquarters, while the military suspended the country's constitution and ordered new elections.

Morsi's removal from power led to unrest across Egypt with clashes taking place between his supporters and detractors. The Egyptian government killed some pro-Morsi Muslim protestors during this time. The government also arrested and tried some of his supporters as well. That November, Morsi himself was put on trial for allegedly inciting the murder of several protestors in December 2012. He told the court that "this trial is illegimate," according to a report in The New York Times. Morsi claimed to still be the rightful president of Egypt. After only one day in court, the trial was postponed until early 2014.

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