Egypt swears in 10 new ministers in economy-directed reshuffling
By Aya Batrawy, APCAIRO -- Egypt's government swore in 10 new ministers on Sunday in a Cabinet shake-up aimed at improving the government's handling of the country's struggling economy.
January 7, 2013, 1:44 am TWN
The top posts that changed hands were the ministers of interior, which handles the police, and finance. Also included in the shuffle are the ministries of civil aviation, communication and information technology, environment and electricity. A new minister for legal and parliamentary affairs was named after the former had resigned.
Three of the new ministers hail from President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, the spokesman for the group's associated political party, Ahmed Shabee, told The Associated Press. The Brotherhood members will head the portfolios of transportation, local development and supply and interior trade.
This brings the total number of Brotherhood Cabinet ministers to eight. Brotherhood members already hold the ministerial posts of information, higher education, housing, labor and youth.
It is the first major Cabinet shake-up since Morsi appointed Hesham Kandil as his prime minister and named a new government in August.
Newly sworn-in Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim was formerly in charge of prisons for three months and prior to that was director of security in the province of Assiut, which has a large Coptic Christian population and has also been home to a number of militant groups including al-Takfir wa al-Higra and al-Gamaa al-Islamiya before the latter gave up arms.
Meanwhile, the finance ministry changed hands in the midst of talks with international lenders, including the International Monetary Fund. The new minister is El-Morsi Hegazy. The state media did not provide background on him, but he replaces Mumtaz el-Said who was first appointed by the country's transitional military rulers and widely viewed as being at oFdds with the Brotherhood.
Morsi met with the new ministers after their swearing in at the presidential palace in Cairo where they discussed ways to revive tourism and attract foreign investors, a presidential official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media.
Egypt has requested a US$4.8 billion loan from the IMF, saying the funds are needed to bolster confidence in the country's ailing economy and attract foreign investors again.