عاجل

البث المباشر

Egypt cabinet reshuffle brings in opposition figure

Brotherhood says all Mubarak's ministers must go

An Egyptian cabinet reshuffle includes several opponents of the former president, media reported on Monday, a move unthinkable when Hosni Mubarak was still in power although his ministers still hold key portfolios.

The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's most organized political group which was banned from forming a political party under Mubarak, said it was not invited to join the cabinet and dismissed the reshuffle saying all Mubarak's ministers must go.

The reshuffle did not include changes to defense, foreign, finance and interior ministry posts. It was not immediately clear if changes would be announced to these key portfolios.

Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who leads the ruling military council, has been defense minister for about 20 years.

"No one offered us any post and had they done so, we would have refused because we request what the public demands that this government quit as it is part of the former regime," said Essam al-Erian, a senior member of the Brotherhood.

"We want a new technocratic government that has no connection with the old era," he told Reuters.

The latest reshuffle brought into the cabinet some new faces including three from registered political parties, a staggering change in Egypt where just four weeks ago opposition groups were harried, fragmented and weakened by decades of repression.

Yehia al-Gamal was appointed deputy prime minister, state media reported. He is a legal expert and professor of law. He is a leader in activist Mohammed ElBaradei's coalition of opposition groups called the National Association for Change

Wafd party

Mounir Abdel Nour, secretary-general of the Wafd party, a decades old liberal, nationalist party, became tourism minister.

"Accepting the position is a national duty to push for change in the right direction," MENA quoted Abdel Nour as saying to Egypt's private Mehwar TV, according to Reuters.

Abdel Nour called on Egypt's next elected president to change the country's constitution, which he said was outdated, MENA said. Veteran leader Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down in a popular uprising on Feb. 11 and handed power to the army, which has vowed to restore civilian rule with swift elections.

Wafd has traditionally been the bastion of liberal democrats in Egypt.

Wafd boycotted the November parliamentary elections because, like many others in the opposition, it said the vote was rigged. However, many opponents of Mubarak had also said the Wafd party had often been close to Mubarak's government.

Gowdat Abdel Khaleq, from the opposition Tagammu party, became minister of social solidarity and social justice, al-Gomhuria newspaper reported.

In other changes, the post of information minister was scrapped. The former minister, Anas el-Fikki, had drawn the wrath of protesters because state media had played down or ignored protests for much of the 18-day revolt.

Amr Hamzawy, a political analyst and member of the so-called council of "Wise Men" which sought to mediate a resolution during the uprising, became minister for youth, state television reported.

Mohamed al-Sawy, who runs a popular cultural centre in Cairo, was appointed culture minister. Georgette Kalini, a parliamentary deputy, was named immigration minister.

Ahmed Gamal Eddin was named minister of education and higher education, and Omar Salama was named as scientific research minister.