Egypt: new government sworn in, salafists stay out

Prority given to security and economy, Morsi calls for unity

02 August, 20:04

(ANSAMed) - CAIRO, AUGUST 2 - Egyptian prime minister Hisham Kandil called for unity on Thursday ahead of the formal announcement of his new 35-member cabinet, which was sworn in today. Kandil has tried keep together technocrats, politicians and the military in his choice of an executive line-up, which includes five new ministries. ''We have many challenges ahead, the situation is critical and we can't make it on our own,'' Kandil told reporters. Meeting the ministers after the swearing-in ceremony, Morsi asked the new cabinet to immediately work to implement his 100-day plan that includes five key points; security, food, fuel, fighting car congestion and cleaning the streets, Mena reports.

He urged them to improve services offered to the public, encourage local and foreign investments, fight unemployment, provide jobs to youths through boosting small and medium-size projects and increase tourism. On the foreign front, the pm underlined the importance of paying more attention to the African continent and activating a common Arab market.

Egypt's main Salafite party, El Nour (The Light) declined to participate in the new government: its list of candidates to official posts was ignored, with the sole exception of Gamal Alam al-Dine, who was offered the environmental ministry, a communique said. El Nour, which garnered 25% of votes in Egypt's first post-Mubarak parliamentary elections, denounced the "lack of consultation" in Kandil's nomination process.

In the new government, the military council chief, Hussein Tantawi, keeps his post as Defense minister, while the new Information minister is Muslim Brotherhood leader, Salah Abdel Maksoud. The latter said he would work on transforming the media from being the government's to the state's, Mena reports. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamel Amr and the Minister of Finance Mumtaz al Saeed, of the outgoing government, also remain in office. General Ahmad Gamal Eddine has been appointed Interior minister.

The Justice department goes to former Supreme Court Vice President Ahmed Mekky, who has declared his mission to be ''justice for all, and an independent judiciary.'' Ali Sabri (Military Production), Kamel Amr (Foreign Affairs), Mumtaz al-Saeed (Finance), and Coptic Christian Nadia Zakhary (Scientific Research) are all reconfirmed in their posts, which they held under the departing Kamal al-Ganzuri administration. Mohamed Saber Arab keeps his post as minister of Culture, which was turned down by well-known Egyptian poet Farouk Goueida.

The Muslim Brotherhood also took the ministries of Higher education with Mostafa Mossaad, who promised to improve the performance of Egyptian universities, and of Contructions with Tareq Wafiq.

New Youths Minister is Osama Yassin, of the Freedom and Justice Party executive office, who said that his priority will be resolving the unemployment issue and empowering the youth economically and politically.

In the technocrat camp, Osama Saleh, chairman of the Egyptian Investment Authority, is the ministry of Investment. Osama Kamal, the former director of the Egyptian Petrochemical Holding Company, is likely to be appointed Oil minister, while Mahmoud Balbaa, the director of the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company, may be named Electricity and Energy minister.

The businessman El-Ameri Farouq el-Ameri is the Sports minister: such a ministry is a novelty for Egypt, whose 21-year-old fencing champion, Allaaeldin Abouelkassem, on Tuesday won an Oympic silver medal, the first such medal for Africa. Former footballers Alaa Abdel Saleq and Hady Kashaba, both Muslim Brothers, were potential candidates for the post. The ministry of transport goes to Mohamed Rashad Nasr Ahmed el-Mitany. (ANSAMed).

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