News / Middle East

    Egypt's Morsi Brings More Islamists into Cabinet

    Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, third left, attends Friday prayers in Cairo, Egypt, April 26, 2013.
    Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, third left, attends Friday prayers in Cairo, Egypt, April 26, 2013.
    Reuters
    Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi increased the influence of his Muslim Brotherhood over government in a Cabinet reshuffle that replaced two ministers involved in crucial talks with the IMF over a $4.8 billion loan.
        
    The changes fell well short of the opposition's demand for a complete overhaul of Prime Minister Hisham Kandil's administration and the installation of a neutral Cabinet to oversee parliamentary elections later this year.
        
    It looked unlikely to help build the political consensus the International Monetary Fund is seeking for reforms needed to secure a loan seen as vital to easing Egypt's deep economic crisis - an unaffordable budget deficit and a plunge in the value of its currency. The government is struggling to seal a deal that would require it to implement austerity measures.
        
    Kandil, a technocrat appointed premier last year, named nine new ministers. They included Amr Darrag, a senior official in the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, as planning minister. The outgoing minister, Ashraf al-Arabi, had played a central role in the IMF talks.
        
    Another Brotherhood member, Yehya Hamed, was named investment minister, and Ahmed el-Gezawi, an FJP member, took over agriculture, lifting the movement's share to around a third of the cabinet's 35 portfolios.
        
    Fayyad Abdel Moneim, a specialist in Islamic economics, was appointed as finance minister, replacing al-Morsi al-Sayed Hegazy, another expert on Islamic finance who was appointed in January - the last time Kandil reshuffled the Cabinet.
        
    “The reshuffle is unlikely to signal any real shift in policy, particularly from an economic perspective,” said Hirsh, a London-based economist.
        
    “If anything it deals a blow to demands for political consensus which the government seems to have ignored.”
       
    The changes underscored the polarized state of an Egyptian political scene split between Morsi and his Islamist allies and opposition parties that accuse him and the Brotherhood of trying to dominate the post-Hosni Mubarak order.
        
    Morsi announced on April 20 he would carry out the reshuffle to replace a government widely criticized for failing to get the economy moving nine months into his presidency.
        
    The United States, which gives Egypt $1.3 billion in military aid each year, has grown more critical of Morsi of late, listing a lack of political inclusivity as a concern.
        
    "Cosmetic change"
     
    Essam el-Erian, deputy head of the Freedom and Justice Party, told Al Jazeera's Egyptian news channel the aim of the reshuffle was to “confront the economic crisis and to conclude the agreement with the IMF with new spirit and a new vision, and to confront the energy crises,” a reference to fuel shortages.
        
    The National Salvation Front (NSF), a loose alliance of opposition parties, wants Morsi to install a neutral government and replace the public prosecutor before elections that are expected to get under way in October.
        
    “The changes will only deepen the political crisis and state of polarization and block the way to any possible real national dialogue,” said Hussein Abdel Ghani, an NSF member.
        
    Yasser el-Shimy, Egypt analyst with the International Crisis Group, said “They might be getting people who will do a better job but it does not address the political crisis in any meaningful way, and I'm not sure it's meant to."
        
    “They have absolutely no doubt that they will be able to ride this wave of instability,” he said.
        
    The reshuffle left the ministers of interior, defense and foreign affairs unchanged.
        
    Ahmed Suleiman was named as justice minister, replacing Ahmed Mekky, who resigned last month in protest at efforts by Morsi's Islamist allies to purge the judiciary. A former assistant to Mekky, Suleiman has been critical of some of Morsi's toughest opponents in the judiciary.
        
    Sherif Haddara, chairman of the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation, was named as minister of petroleum, responsible for meeting the fuel needs of the cash-strapped state as summer approaches. The state, which subsidizes diesel, cooking gas and other fuels, has been struggling to finance energy imports.

    You May Like

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.