Egypt's Salafist Nour Party may participate in new government

Ahram Online, Monday 24 Feb 2014

A vocal critic of Hazem El-Beblawi's government, the Salafist Nour Party has voiced interest in the next cabinet

Younes Makhion
Nour Party head Younes Makhion (Photo: Al-Ahram)

The ultra-conservative Salafist Nour Party has announced intentions to take part in Egypt's next cabinet, although it refused to the outgoing government months.

Salah Abdel-Maqsoud, member of the Nour Party's high commission, said that while no final decision had been made, the matter was still being considered, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic news website.

Meanwhile, Nour Party head Younes Makhion went on private TV channel MBC Masr on Monday and told host Sherif Amer that the party hadn't been offered any positions in a future cabinet but would look into it if they were offered.

Earlier on Monday, interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi announced on state-run TV that his cabinet had submitted its resignation to interim President Adly Mansour.

Abdel-Maqsoud also said on Monday that he'd like to see Ibrahim Mehleb, housing minister under El-Beblawi's government, become the next prime minister.

"This would be a positive step given [Mehleb's] past experience in dealing with citizens," Abdel-Maqsoud said.

Mehleb, a former member of ousted president Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP) and ex-chairman of the board of directors of the Arab Contractors, one of the leading construction companies in the Middle East and Africa, is among the most-discussed candidates for El-Beblawi's successor.

Abdel-Maqsoud described the cabinet reshuffle as an "excellent step," adding that the next government must be based on competence and experience and not to satisfy a certain faction or sect.

"El-Beblawi's government was weak and distanced from the street and reality," Abdel-Maqsoub said.  "A government's success is tied to its communication with the street."

His Salafist party reportedly refused to join El-Beblawi's cabinet last summer and was widely believed to have been responsible for making sure that Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei wasn't appointed as prime minister.

The party also refused to join the cabinet of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, led at the time by then-prime minister Hisham Qandil, accusing the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party "of not honouring an earlier deal."

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