Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Egypt announces cabinet reshuffle

This morning, Egypt announced a cabinet reshuffle involving 11 ministers, bowing to pressure from the opposition who say that President Mohamed Morsi's government is failing to build political consensus to revive the faltering economy and agree an urgent deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This latest reshuffle, the first since January, comes before Morsi heads to Brazil for a state visit later this week.
Key among the new appointments is Sherif Haddara, Chairman of the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), Egypt's state-run oil company, who will replace Osama Kamal as the Minister of Petroleum. His role will be crucial in the coming months, as the cash-strapped state seeks to provide much needed fuel for its citizens during the summer, as well as proposed subsidy reforms that could further exacerbate tensions. Sherif graduated from Cairo University in 1976 with a BSc in Mechanical Engineering and has overseen Ruhrpumpen Egypt, Germany's joint venture project with Egypt, in his role at the EGPC.
Judge Mohamed Ahmed Soliman, the new Justice Minister, will replace Ahmed Mekki, who resigned in protest last month at attempts by affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) to reform the judiciary. Fayad Abdel-Moneim, an expert on Islamic finance and MB member, takes over as Finance Minister, replacing Al-Morsi Al-Sayed Hegazy. Amr Darrag will become Planning Minister, taking over from Ashraf Al-Arabi, who was pivotal in Egypt's talks with the IMF to secure a $4.8m loan.
It is unlikely that the reshuffle will appease the opposition, who have been calling for a neutral government and the replacement of Hesham Qandil as Prime Minister, especially as there are now 10 members of the MB appointed as ministers, as opposed to 8 in the last cabinet. The Ministers of Agriculture, Parliamentary Affairs, Antiquities, Culture and Investment were also replaced today. The Ministers of Interior, Foreign Affairs and Defence remain unchanged.
For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.
© 2013 Menas Associates

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