Egypt politicians differ on reported cabinet changes

AFP and Ahram Online, Tuesday 1 May 2012

Egyptian pro-governmental newspapers report contradictory information on a ministerial reshuffle amid a political conflict between the parliamentary majority and the ruling military

Kamal Ganzouri
Egyptian Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri (Photo: Reuters)

Politicians in Egypt offered conflicting views on Tuesday about whether the ruling military will reshuffle the cabinet before presidential elections due next month.

The Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been pressing the military junta to sack Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzuri's government and task it with forming a new cabinet.

On Sunday, the Brotherhood said Supreme Council of the Armed Forces chief Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi had promised parliament speaker Saad El-Katatni that he would carry out an imminent reshuffle. And the Islamist-dominated parliament decided to suspend its sessions until May 6 in protest at the military's refusal to sack the government.

But on Tuesday, senior Brotherhood official Essam El-Eriane said "there is nothing new; we are still waiting. The ball is in their court."

"The parliament sessions are still suspended and will resume on Sunday. If there is something new by then, we will adopt a new position."

Eriane said El-Katatni had received a call from a member of Egypt's ruling military council, saying the reshuffle was expected. He did not identify the caller, but clarified that it was not Tantawi.

Freedom and Justice Party MP, Osama Suleiman, said the phone call between El-Katatni and the SCAF took place in the presence of more than 100 MPs inside the People’s Assembly, according to the Muslim Brotherhood's website.

And Al-Gomhuria, a state-run daily, said a reshuffle would occur, but only in a few ministries, including the foreign affairs portfolio. But two ministers said there was no plan for a reshuffle.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Mohammed Attiya was quoted by flag-ship state-run daily, Al-Ahram, as saying "the government of Kamal El-Ganzuri will remain in place until late June."

And Minister for Planning and International Cooperation Fayza Abul Naga was quoted by independent daily, Al-Shuruq, as saying "to my knowledge, there is no cabinet reshuffle. And if it does happen, the prime minister will announce it himself."


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