News / Middle East

El-Sissi Reappoints PM to Fix Economy

From left, Coptic Pope Tawadros II, Egyptian interim Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and Grand Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb, the head of Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world's premier Islamic institution, leave the inauguration ceremony for President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo, June 8, 2014.
From left, Coptic Pope Tawadros II, Egyptian interim Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and Grand Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb, the head of Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world's premier Islamic institution, leave the inauguration ceremony for President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo, June 8, 2014.
Reuters
Newly inaugurated President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi reappointed Egypt's prime minister on Monday, signaling continuity as he sets out to fix the economy and overcome political divisions after a long period of turmoil and bloodshed.
 
In comments carried by the state news agency, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said the current government would stay on in a caretaker role until he forms a new cabinet.

Consultations had not yet begun, he said, although officials have said many of the leading ministers such as finance are likely to be unchanged.
 
Sissi, who as armed forces chief toppled Islamist President Mohamed Morsi last July following mass protests, was sworn in on Sunday in a ceremony with low-key attendance by Western allies concerned by a crackdown on dissent.
 
While Sissi quit the military in March, a lower-than-expected turnout in last month's presidential elections fell short of giving him a strong mandate to take tough measures to repair an economy wounded by three years of instability and regular  violence which has scared away foreign investors and tourists.
 
Put reforms in place

Keeping the main ministers in place could allow Sissi to  implement quickly the kind of reforms that the United Arab Emirates - one of the Gulf Arab states that gave Egypt billions of dollars in aid after Morsi's fall - has been encouraging.
 
Fawaz Gerges, professor of Middle East Studies at the London School of Economics, said Sissi had to tackle the problems that are undermining Egyptians' living standards and state finances.
 
“He knows that he has a one year honeymoon and that's why he has to deliver in terms of jobs, in terms of lowering inflation, in terms of the debt,” he said. “That's why he's keeping Mahlab in place and that's why he's keeping the major portfolios."
 
One of the most important figures in Egypt's drive to resuscitate the economy is Finance Minister Hany Kadry Dimian, who is expected to stay on in the new administration.
 
Educated at Columbia University in the United States, he was described by a senior European diplomat as the only ministry expert able to deal professionally with the International Monetary Fund during a failed attempt under Morsi to secure a $4.8 billion loan.
 
Reuters reported on Friday that Western consultants were advising Egypt's government - apparently with Sisi's blessing - on an economic reform plan which could serve as a basis for restarting talks on a IMF loan deal.
 
The driving force behind the consulting project is the UAE, which along with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait has showered Egypt with aid totalling more than $12 billion in cash and petroleum products since Morsi's removal.
 
Muslim Brotherhood

As de facto ruler since last summer, Sisi has driven Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood underground with a crackdown in which hundreds of its supporters have been killed and thousands jailed, polarizing the most populous Arab nation.
 
However, Egypt's oldest and best organized Islamist movement has survived official repression for decades. Sisi also faces a violent threat from militants based in the Sinai peninsula who are believed to have access to weapons smuggled from chaotic Libya. These have stepped up attacks on police and soldiers since Sisi ousted Morsi.
 
Mahlab, 65, was appointed prime minister in February after  serving previously in housing portfolio. A civil engineer, he is a former chairman of Arab Contractors, one of the region's largest construction companies, and worked briefly in Saudi Arabia before joining the government following Morsi's overthrow.
 
The Egyptian pound strengthened slightly at a central bank sale on Monday to 7.1402 pounds to the dollar from 7.1403 at its last sale on Thursday, and it remained steady on the parallel market.
 
The gap between the pound's rates on the official and black markets has narrowed markedly since Sisi's election, with the currency appreciating markedly against the dollar at unofficial rates.
 
Egypt's benchmark stock index closed up 1.1 percent.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs