President Mohammed Morsi (R) shaking hands with his newly appointed vice president, former judge Mahmud Mekki
This handout picture made available by the Egyptian presidency show President Mohammed Morsi (R) shaking hands with his newly appointed vice president, former judge Mahmud Mekki during a swearing-in ceremony at the presidential palace in Cairo on August 12, © - AFP/Egyptian Presidency
President Mohammed Morsi (R) shaking hands with his newly appointed vice president, former judge Mahmud Mekki
AFP
Last updated: August 13, 2012

Egypt's new Vice President: a former top judge who said no to Mubarak

Mahmud Mekki, named Egypt's vice president on Sunday, is a respected judge who in 2005 helped turn anger within the judiciary at Hosni Mubarak's meddling in court rulings into a movement against him.

Mekki becomes only the second Egyptian vice president in more than 30 years -- Mubarak, who held the post until the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981, never filled it until he named his intelligence chief Omar Suleiman to the job in the midst of a revolt last year that eventually toppled him.

The new vice president won fame in April 2005 when he took the microphone at a meeting of the Judges Club in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria to call for increased pressure on the Mubarak regime over judicial independence.

He then persuaded his colleagues to call an emergency general meeting of the country's judges at the Judges Club in Cairo, launching a now-famous revolt by judges.

Magistrates called for a new law to enshrine judicial independence, and refused to condone the rampant fraud that marred Egyptian elections.

He became a symbol of the opposition to Mubarak, and he was mooted as a possible candidate to face off against the strongman in presidential polls, but he insisted that as a judge, he wished to remain independent.

Mekki's political leanings are not known. His brother is current Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki.

Born in Alexandria in 1954, Mekki studied at the country's police academy and is a former officer in the interior ministry, which he eventually left to join the judiciary.

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