Prime minister Essam Sharaf has cancelled the nomination of the Abdel Fatah El-Banna to hold Egypt’s antiquities portfolio. The decision was taken following the demonstrations of archaeologists and the employees of the Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA) at the front gate of the cabinet building calling for the cancellation of El-Banna’s nomination to the ministry's top post.
El-Banna is an associate professor at Cairo University and a stone monuments restoration specialist. He obtained his Ph.D. from Warsaw University, Poland, in engineering geology and majored in restoration of historic buildings.
El-Banna, along with fresh graduate archaeologists, had been campaigning against former MSA minister Zahi Hawass, calling for him to step down. He also led a campaign against the archaeologist Mark Lehner and his team from the AERA dig house.
El-Banna told Ahram Online that the cabinet had called him to cancel his nomination.
The archaeological communtiy is now speculating as to whether the MSA will be reduced to an antiquities authority affiliated with the cabinet or remain a ministry with the new minister announced later this week.