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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid