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.
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

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs