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Egypt military council swears in new cabinet

Egypt's military supreme council swore in a new Cabinet Tuesday that includes 11 new ministers

Ahram Online and wires, Tuesday 22 Feb 2011
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Egypt's military rulers swore in a new Cabinet Tuesday that includes 11 new ministers in a nod to the opposition movement that ousted longtime leader Hosni Mubarak but keeps three former members of the regime in key posts.

The move comes as the military leadership that is overseeing the country's transition works to assure the anti-Mubarak movement that led mass protests it is committed to democratic reforms.

However, the decision to keep Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and Justice Minister Mamdouh Marie in their post are likely to draw criticism from the youth activists and others who launched the uprising on Jan. 25.

The coalition government included independents and members of opposition parties for the first time in decades, pushing out the longtime ministers of oil, social justice and labor.

The new Cabinet also included two Coptic Christians, including an ex-lawmaker.

Among the new names were Mounir Fakhri Abdel Nour, a Coptic member of the Wafd opposition party as minister of tourism, filling a position that has been vacant since Zuhair Garana was jailed on corruption charges.

Top leftist Tagammu party member Gouda Abdel Khaleq also was named minister of social justice.

Independent opposition figure, Constitutional Law professor Yehia El-Gamal was also named deputy prime minister. El-Gamal was a leading member in Mohamed ElBaradei's coalition of opposition groups called the National Association for Change.

Amr Ezzat Salama’was appointed to the ministry of higher education and scientific research and Ahmed Gamal Eddin as minister of education.

Gamal Eddin and Salama were both ministers of the same portfolios in 2004 before Gamal Eddin was reportedly dismissed for being is related to Muslim Brotherhood members and Salama paid the price for not being in former prime minister Ahmed Nazif’s good books.

Independent Abdel Moneim El-Sawy, who runs a popular cultural centre in Cairo, was apponted to the ministry of culture, and Maged Othman to the ministry of communications.

Warning of new mass protests, the young activists who led the movement have pressed the military council to form a broad-based government that excludes Mubarak's cronies, release political prisoners and abolish laws on political parties and allow free and fair election.

 

The military council already has dissolved parliament, which was stacked with Mubarak's National Democratic party, and suspended the constitution.

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