Egypt's new cabinet to be announced Thursday

Ahram Online and MENA, Saturday 28 Jul 2012

After meeting President Mohamed Morsi, Prime Minister Hisham Qandlil says Egypt's new cabinet will be officially revealed at a press conference on Thursday

Qandil and Morsi
Egyptian President, Mohammed Morsi, left, meets with the minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Hesham Kandil, at the presidential palace in Cairo (Photo: AP)

Newly-appointed premier Hisham Qandil announced on Saturday that Egypt's new cabinet will be officially unveiled Thursday at a news conference.

Qandil had earlier in the day headed to the presidential palace to meet President Mohamed Morsi to present his suggestions for the upcoming cabinet.

"We outlined the most important factors for the new ministerial team and decided that the announcement of the final formation [of the cabinet] will be revealed at a press conference Thursday," Qandil told reporters shortly after the meeting.

Nineteen ministers have already been chosen, according to a report from Egypt's official Middle East News Agency (MENA), which quoted a source from the interim cabinet but did not disclose their identities. As of press time, the rest of ministers have not yet been chosen, still needing further meetings and discussions with possible candidates.

"I met with around 40 figures from different fields over the past days to decide on the final list of ministers," Qandil said. "There will be more talks [before the new government is announced]."

Qandil had earlier said that he will designate a new ministry for infrastructure and facilities, but no other news has come through on whether some ministries will merge or be split up.

When asked about the possibility of merging ministries or including new ones in the cabinet, Qandil said: "Both options are valid.

"There has to be a separate ministry for water and facilities because this sector is huge. The infrastructure must be expanded to provide potable water and there is a lot to be done in this field," added the former irrigation minister.

Although the final number of ministries in Qandil's cabinet has also not yet been specified, it is widely expected to consist of around 30 ministries.

Several media reports said that the postponement in announcing the new cabinet members is partly due to the conflicts in the negotiations on the highest-profile ministries; those of the interior, defence, communication and finance.

It was suggested by local press that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which ceded power to Morsi, upon his inauguration, are taking part in the negotiations over the new cabinet. The presidential office did not cite reasons behind the delay.

MENA also quoted an unnamed cabinet source as saying that the military council has not yet provided a name for the high-profile position of the minister of defence, which the president cannot determine without SCAF's approval.

For his side, tourism minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour resigned from his post in the interim cabinet and stressed he does not want to be part of the coming government.

Abdel-Nour stated that he didn't want to head any ministry and that this was a decision he had come to before the prime minister was named. His party, the Wafd Party (Delegation Party), had announced that none of their members would hold a ministerial position.

The source that spoke to MENA earlier said that Qandil had intended to keep Abdel-Nour in his position. After Abdel-Nour's resignation, he was asked to nominate names for his successors.

Mohamed Ibrahim, who served as interior minister in the interim government of Kamal El-Ganzouri, revealed it is not likely that he would keep his post.

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