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Profile: Egypt's Vice-President Mahmoud Mekki

image captionMahmud Mekki (L) at his swearing-in ceremony with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi

Mahmoud Mekki, a former senior judge, was the first civilian to serve as Egypt's vice-president since the revolution of 1952.

Appointed in August 2012, he was a well-regarded senior official with a history of supporting judicial reform, who became a prominent opponent of former President Hosni Mubarak.

Mr Mekki announced his resignation on 22 December 2012, on the final day of voting in the referendum on the country's draft constitution.

He said he had found politics to be incompatible with his background as a judge.

His brother, Ahmed, is the justice minister in Prime Minister Hisham Qandil's new government.

Like Mr Qandil, the Mekki brothers are seen as sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, although they are not officially members.


Mahmoud Mekki was born in the northern city of Alexandria in 1954.

He began his career in the police force, serving in the paramilitary General Security and Central Security Forces after graduating from the Police Academy in Cairo.

He later studied law at university before transferring to the public prosecutor's office.

A few years later, Mr Mekki became a judge. Working his way up the judicial ladder, he was eventually appointed vice-president of the Court of Cassation, which represents the final stage of criminal appeal in Egypt.

While still a judge, he became involved in the movement for an independent judiciary, becoming a leading member during the 1980s of a reformist group within the Judges' Club, a professional association, which lobbied for separating the judiciary from the executive.

image captionThe trial of Mahmoud Mekki and other reformists judges triggered large protests in Cairo

In 1992, Mr Mekki led a strike by judges to demand the release of two colleagues who they said had been unfairly arrested.

Mr Mekki was himself arrested and then put on trial in 2005 for his role in uncovering what opposition activists said was the large-scale rigging of that year's presidential election, which saw Mubarak win a fifth consecutive term.

Along with fellow members of the movement for an independent judiciary, Mr Mekki was accused of defaming the judiciary after they published a list of judges who they alleged had been involved in electoral fraud.

After a lengthy trial - during which there were large protests in support of the defendants in central Cairo by activists and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, and then hundreds of arrests as the authorities sought to silence the dissent - they were cleared of the charge in 2006.

Following his acquittal, Mr Mekki led renewed protests demanding judicial independence, as well as the amendment of Article 76 of the constitution to allow multiple candidates for future presidential elections.

In 2010, the judge moved to Kuwait after being appointed vice-president of the Gulf emirate's Court of Cassation. But he returned to Egypt in August 2012 after being asked by President Mursi to be his deputy.

Mr Mekki had reportedly turned down an offer from the Muslim Brotherhood to be its presidential candidate. The nomination instead went to the group's deputy leader, Khairat al-Shater, and then Mr Mursi following Mr Shater's disqualification.

When announcing his resignation in December 2012, Mr Mekki said he had tried to quit six weeks earlier, but Israel's conflict in Gaza and the row over the draft constitution had prevented him from doing so.

Mr Mekki said he believed he had worked hard for the "interests of the nation" and he wished the president well.

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