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Egypt cabinet reshuffle brings in opposition

Cairo, February 21, 2011

Egypt's ruling  military council has reshuffled the cabinet to include several opponents of the former president, media reported on Monday.

The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's most organised 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.

Mubarak reshuffled his cabinet shortly after protests erupted on January 25 in a bid to assuage anger against his 30-year rule, but continued to build until his ouster on February 11.   

The reshuffle announced late on Sunday did not include changes to defence, 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 defence 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 El-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 el-Gamal was appointed deputy prime minister, state media reported. He is a legal expert and professor of law. He is a leader in activist Mohamed ElBaradei's coalition of opposition groups called the National Association for Change .
  
Mounir Abdel Nour, secretary-general of the Wafd party, a decades old liberal, nationalist party, became tourism minister.   

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

Ahmed Gamal el-Din was named minister of education and higher education, and Omar Salama was named as scientific research minister. -Reuters




Tags: Egypt | Cabinet | reshuffle |

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