Egypt Leaders Agree on Candidates for Sharaf Cabinet to Be Sworn In Today
Egyptian leaders agreed on candidates for a new Cabinet that is due to be sworn in today to help manage a transition to democracy after an uprising ousted President Hosni Mubarak last month.
Finance Minister Samir Radwan will retain his position, the state-run Middle East News Agency said today, without saying how it got the information.
The new government is scheduled to be sworn in before the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which on March 3 asked the prime minister-designate, Essam Sharaf, to form a new Cabinet.
Former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik resigned following calls by protesters that he leave along with other ministers appointed by Mubarak. The former president was forced from office on Feb. 11 after three decades in power by an uprising inspired by the ouster of Tunisia’s President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali a month earlier.
The new cabinet will also reappoint Hassan Younes to head the ministry of electricity and energy, Fayza Aboulnaga for international cooperation, Fathi El-Baradei for housing, Ibrahim Manaa for civil aviation, Nabil Arabi as foreign minister and Sayed Mashaal for the ministry of military production, the news agency said.
Majed George will remain state minister for environment affairs, Jawda Abdul Khaliq as minister of social solidarity and internal trade, Munir Fakhri Abdelnoor for tourism, Abdallah al- Husseini for religious endowments, Mohsen Al-Nomani for local development, Samir Ali El-Sayyad for industry and foreign trade, Atef Abdelhamid for transport, Majid Othman for communications and information technology, and Hussein Mustapha for irrigation and water resources, it said.
The other appointments, according to the news agency, are Mohamad Abdul Aziz al-Jundi, justice; Imad Abu Ghazi, culture; Ahmad al-Burhi, labor; Mohammed Abdullah Ghorab, petroleum; and Ayman Farid Abu Hadid, agriculture.
The designation of Sharaf, a former transportation minister, has been welcomed by many protesters and opposition figures. Shafik, a former air force official, was named prime minister by Mubarak in January.
“This is the first Cabinet that reflects the choice of the people. It includes ministers who participated in the revolution and who supported it,” said Ziad Elelaimy, a member of the Alliance of the Youths’ Revolution, a coalition of protesting groups. “They can implement the demands of the revolution.”
Sharaf and Arabi were among those who joined protesters during the uprising in Tahrir Square, the hub of mass demonstrations, Elelaimy said, which endeared them to many activists.
Arabi’s name was among those suggested by the coalition to Sharaf for inclusion in the Cabinet, he said.
Egypt’s stock market will open after a new cabinet is formed, Khaled Seyam, head of the bourse, told Al Jazeera television two days ago. The bourse has been closed since Jan. 27 after the benchmark EGX 30 Index (EGX30) fell 16 percent amid the uprising.
Egypt may post economic growth of 1.5 percent “at best” this year following the unrest that led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, Kai Stuckenbrock, director of the regional sovereign ratings group at Standard & Poor’s, said today in a conference call. Growth may fall to zero, Stuckenbrock said.
Protesters and security forces clashed this weekend. Tanks were sent to guard the state security building in the southern city of Assiut after demonstrators tried to storm it March 5, saying its main purpose is to spy on dissidents, Al Arabiya TV reported.
Security forces also fought demonstrators near a state security building in Alexandria on March 4, killing one person and injuring four, Al Arabiya said, citing a witness.
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