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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Egypt’s new Cabinet to be formed soon

Hisham Kandeel, Egypt's Prime Minister

After Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsy designated Hisham Kandeel as a Prime Minister the talks and consultations about the forming of the country’s new government began.

Hisham Kandeel himself (50) is not a well-known figure for Egyptian politics. He is US-educated engineer and took a post of Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources in the previous El-Ganzoury’s Cabinet. He is also religious on a personal level and known for his support of Mohamed Morsy and FJP’s political project “El-Nahda” (“Renaissance”), but he wasn’t ever affiliated officially with any Islamist political groups and parties, so he comes outside of Muslim Brotherhood. According to FJP representative and the party’s economist Abdallah Shehata, the candidature of Hisham Kandeel was put forward by FJP to President Mohamed Morsy. The designation of Kandeel as a new Egypt’s Prime Minister divided Egyptian political spectrum, as Kandeel is considered by many being a close Muslim Brotherhood ally. There are also some doubts about his ability to restore an order under such hard circumstances in Egypt and to face the numerous challenges as a head of the government while he doesn’t have enough political and economic experience. It is also worth mentioning that Hisham Kandeel’s appointment as a Prime Minister disappointed many Egypt’s investors, regarding the fact that he isn’t well known outside of Egypt too. But from another hand Hisham Kandeel is a young figure and there is too early to judge his abilities as he just took the office.
Freedom and Justice party logo

In his first speech to nation as a Prime Minister Hisham Kandeel stated that it is very important now to unite to face the challenges and he also noted that he is going to form Egypt’s new government as technocratic. The selection of the ministers will be based not on their party belongings but on their efficiency and competence. Hisham Kandeel already met with President Mohamed Morsy to discuss the details of the forming of the new government. It should be also noted that SCAF (Supreme Council of the Armed Forces) which was de facto the ruler of the country after Hosni Mubarak’s resignation and still remains in power has its final word in many aspects of the state’s governing. According to Provisional Constitution and Constitutional Addendum as well, the candidacies of ministers should be discussed with SCAF before appointment. As for choosing and appointing the Minister of Defense, this step should be taken only with the SCAF’s approval, and the minister might be from armed forces and cannot be chosen among the civilians. On the current stage the Head of Egypt’s Armed Forces and Defense Minister is Field Marshal Hussein Tantawy.
Mohamed Hussein Tantawy, head of SCAF
Egypt’s Prime Minister Hisham Kandeel has already met 11 nominees for different Cabinet’s portfolios and discussed with them the questions of the government’s forming, according to MENA. As it was already mentioned, Hisham Kandeel stated that the main criteria for choosing the future ministers will be their professional level, efficiency and competence. Some of the ministers from the previous Cabinet will most likely remain on their posts in the new government too. For example, Nadia Zakhary, the current Scientific Research Minister in El-Ganzoury’s cabinet, would remain at her post in the new Cabinet. But as for Egypt’s veteran Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Fayza Abul-Naga, who has held this post for the past 11 years and was one of the three ministers still remaining on their posts after ouster of Hosni Mubarak, she will be unlikely reappointed, according to the FJP representative.

Among the nominees with whom Hisham Kandeel has already met for discussions are Atef Radwan (dean of Medicine at Zagazig University, nominated for the post of Minister of Health), Mostafa Mosaad (one of the members of Mohamed Morsy’s presidential campaign and nominated for the post of Minister of Education), Tarek Wafik (urban planning professor and expert in economics, nominated for the post of Minister of Housing), Ali Fahmy (professor of information systems, owner of the chain of electronic stores, nominated for the post of Minister of Communication), Mohamed Hazem Mohamed (professor of electronic engineering at Cairo University, also nominated for the post of Communication Minister), Hatem Abdel-Latif (professor of arts, nominated for the post of Minister of social affairs), Mohamed Rashad (engineering professor at Cairo University, who’s specialization is roads and bridges), Wael El-Nady (engineer), Mohamed Yousry (professor of chemical engineering at Cairo University), Tarek Abdel-Latif (architecture professor), Essam Khalifa (supervisor at the Ministry of irrigation).
Mohamed Morsy, Egypt's President

As for the economic posts in Egypt’s future government, Muslim Brotherhood’s FJP stated it will select its members. FJP representative Abdallah Shahata said the ministers of Commerce and Industry, Finance and Planning will be not necessary from FJP, but they will be chosen by the party. It is also very likely that the Ministry of Investment will be revived in the upcoming Cabinet. In addition to that, there are claims that at least 10 ministerial posts are set aside for Muslim Brotherhood’s members, and there are also a lot of Muslim Brotherhood’s businessmen among the nominees. Such a situation sparked a lot of doubts and worries that the new government will be either dominated by Islamist forces or will be very much dependent on it. However, after his Thursday’s press-conference Egypt’s Prime Minister Hisham Kandeel stated that the final list of candidates will be presented to Mohamed Morsy for consultation and approval on Friday.