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Egypt's interim government faces tough economic issues

A man sells pretzels in Tahrir Square the day after former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, the country's first democratically elected president, was ousted from power on July 4, 2013 in Cairo, Egypt.

The man who was the chief justice of Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court is now Egypt's interim president. Chief justice Adly Mansour was sworn in today, only hours after the Egyptian military suspended the country's constitution and removed Mohammed Morsi. Morsi's been arrested along with several high-ranking members of his party, The Muslim Brotherhood. Kimberly Adams, a reporter based in Egypt, has been covering the story. Yesterday she witnessed thousands of demonstrators converging in Tahrir Square, but today she says the crowd has thinned out.

"Most of the protests -- at least those that were against President Morsi and calling for Morsi to be kicked out of office as he eventually was -- have pretty much gone home. But what has remained are some of the protests in support of President Mohammed Morsi. Those groups are still gathering and still calling for the reinstatement of the president and that this -- what they are calling a military coup -- is illegitimate. Meanwhile the military has actually been going around and detaining several supporters or Morsi and members of his organization The Muslim Brotherhood," says Adams.


Reporter's Notebook: In Egypt, report or stay safe? Read Adams' account of the dilemma she faced reporting on the protests in Tahrir Square.


While the Muslim Brotherhood has called the series of events a "coup," others, like the U.S. government, have been careful to avoid using that term. That's because Adams says that term has a lot of implications for Egypt in terms of money.

"The United States gives about $1.5 billion in military aid to Egypt every year. One of the conditions of that aid is that you cannot have a military coup and if there is a military coup that aid is definitely on the line. So the military leadership here as well as the opposition groups supporting this transitional government are being very emphatic that this is not a coup," says Adams.

Adams says there were several economic reasons why demonstrators wanted Morsi out of office -- rising unemployment, rising food prices, gas and fuel shortages, and power outages among them. She says many people just didn't know what was going to come next for the country. Additionally, she says there has been a big problem with the security situation in Egypt.

As for what will happen next for the country, Adams says it's hard to predict. She says the interim government has a lot of issues to deal with -- a rising budget deficit, falling currency reserves, and ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over a $4.8 billion loan that the previous government wasn't able to secure.  

"There's this sense that people might give it some time, but it's not clear how much," she says.

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