El-Ganzouri’s ministerial reshuffle fails to appease protesters’ anger

Ahram Online, Saturday 3 Dec 2011

The swearing-in ceremony has been postponed for Egypt's new cabinet under militarily-appointed PM El-Ganzouri, who has already seen outcry over his partial list

Kamal El-Ganzouri

Egypt’s interim Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri’s ministerial reshuffle, which is yet to be officially unveiled, provoked a flurry of criticism, considering many from the previous government will still hold their positions.

El-Ganzouri, who succeeds Essam Sharaf as interim prime minister, has been forming the new government that shall lead the country through the transitional period, due to end next year.

His appointment as prime minister in itself did not go down well with protesters, who want the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to immediately hand over power to a civilian administration. El-Ganzouri is seen as an ex-regime member, not capable of standing up to the military junta and too old, at 78, to relate to the masses of younger protesters.

The anti-SCAF demonstrators sounded even more disgruntlement after several figures of El-Ganzouri’s government were mentioned, which showed the new premier has barely made changes to Sharaf’s cabinet. Thirteen out of 27 ministers are staying put, although it is yet to be seen if El-Ganzouri will eliminate, add or combine any posts.

Keeping Osama Heikal as the Minister of Information was the most provocative decision, say many activists. The state-run media, they believe, lacks credibility and has been blindly supporting SCAF over the past months.

“For those who don't know who Osama Heikal is: he is the head of the Egyptian version of George Orwell's Ministry of Truth,” tweeted Tarek Amr, whose username is @gr33ndata and defines himself as an author.

@hany2m said: “Unfortunately, he's strongly supported by one of SCAF members.”

Other ministers who have been announced that will remain in their seats are: Minister of Communications Mohamed Salem; Minister of Petroleum Abdullah Gorab;  Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel; Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Mahmoud Eissa; Minister of Tourism Mounir Fakhri; ; Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Faiza Aboul Naga; Minister of Endowments Mohamed Abdel Fadil; Minister of Irrigation Hisham Kandil; Minister of Electricity Hassan Youness; Minister of Social Justice Gouda Abdel Khaleq, who is also to take over the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade; Minister of Agriculture Salah Youssef and Minister of Military Production Ali Sabri.

El-Ganzouri’s government was supposed to swear in today, but the oath ceremony was postponed until the whole cabinet is formed.

Anti-SCAF protesters, meanwhile, have been calling for a “national salvation” government led by presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei.

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