Egyptian PM says reshuffle to include defence minister

Reuters and Ahram Online, Saturday 1 Feb 2014

In statements to Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper, Egypt's interim premier said a ministerial reshuffle is imminent

Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi
Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (Photo: AP)

Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi has said a cabinet reshuffle will include the defence ministry, an Egyptian newspaper said on Saturday, in the clearest sign yet that Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi plans to stand for president, Reuters reported.

Army chief Sisi, now defence minister in Egypt's interim government, announced the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July after mass protests against his rule and is widely expected to announce his candidacy within days and win an election easily.

Local media reports quoted Beblawi as saying that Sisi would run for president, but the premier on Saturday strongly denied making any statements on the issue, saying that it was down to the armed forces chief to decide whether to stand for election. 

Before Sisi can run for president he must step down from his government post.

The reshuffle will not be announced before a visit by Beblawi to Saudi Arabia, a major financial supporter of Egypt's interim government, on Tuesday and Wednesday, the privately-owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper quoted him as saying.

The reshuffle is to include the defence ministry and the ministry for international cooperation, whose head, Ziad Bahaa El-Din, tendered his resignation last Monday, according to the report.

Cabinet officials were not immediately available for comment.

Morsi, meanwhile, is facing trial on Saturday over violence outside the presidential palace during unrest in late 2012 ignited by a decree that expanded his powers. Around a dozen people were killed.


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