Egypt new govt. sworn in
Egypt’s interim president has sworn in the first Cabinet since the military ousted the Islamist president, giving members of the country’s liberal movements key positions. The Cabinet includes three women.
The new government is led by Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, an economist. Army chief Gen Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who ousted Mohammed Morsi on July 3, retains his post as defense minister and also took the position of first deputy prime minister, an additional title given to defense ministers in the past.
The Morsi-appointed interior minister, Mohammed Ibrahim, remains in his post, in charge of the police. Nabil Fahmy, who was Egypt’s ambassador to the US from 1999-2008, became foreign minister on Tuesday.
Underlining the relatively liberal outlook of the new government, President Adly Mansour named three women in his Cabinet, taking the powerful ministries of information and health as well as the environment ministry.
The Cabinet has 34 members, not including el-Beblawi.
Most past governments for decades have had at most two women in them.
The Cabinet does not include any figures from Islamist parties. The interim president’s spokesman had said posts would be offered to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Although the group says it was never offered any posts, it also said that even if it had been invited to join the cabinet, it would have refused to participate in the military-backed political process and vowed to continue its protests.
Morsi’s supporters accuse the military of carrying out a coup that has destroyed Egypt’s democracy.
Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston, reporting from Cairo, said that there were many familiar names in the new cabinet, with seven holding posts in the previous cabinet.
“It does very much look like this is a government of experts – a government of technocrats – which is exactly what the opposition groups were calling for,” said Johnston.
The Muslim Brotherhood immediately denounced the new cabinet.
“It’s an illegitimate government, an illegitimate prime minister, an illegitimate cabinet. We don’t recognise anyone in it,” said Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad.
“We don’t even recognise their authority as representatives of the government.”
On Monday, seven people died and hundreds more were injured as police fought running battles overnight with supporters of Morsi.
Egypt’s state news agency said 17 policemen were injured in the violence, and 401 people have been arrested in relation to the clashes.
Thousands of Morsi supporters were protesting to press their demands that he be reinstated as president, because, they say, he was removed by a military coup that overturned democratic rule.