Morsi, SCAF in talks over Egypt's new defence minister: PM

Ahram Online, Tuesday 24 Jul 2012

New PM Hisham Kandil says talks are ongoing over sensitive defence portfolio, the minister of which – Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi – is currently head of Egypt's military council

Morsi and Tantawi
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, left, shakes hands with Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi in Cairo (Photo: AP)

Newly appointed Prime Minister Hisham Kandil has said that discussions were ongoing between Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) regarding who the country's next defence minister will be.

The current minister of defence is Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the SCAF.

A constitutional addendum issued on 17 June by the SCAF states in Article 53 that the head of the military council, now a position held by Tantawi, will remain minister of defence until a new constitution is drafted. Accordingly, this raises doubts as to whether Tantawi will be replaced in the coming period. 

Kandil's statements have revived debate over whether Morsi has recognised the constitutional addendum. Morsi swore his oath of office in front of Egypt's High Constitutional Court in accordance with the 17 June addendum. The Muslim Brotherhood, however, had frequently denied their candidate would abide by the document.

Tantawi has been minister of defence since 1991, under seven different governments.

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