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Egypt's cabinet refreshes with 10 new ministers

By Marwa, Mahmoud Fouly (Xinhua)

08:49, January 07, 2013

CAIRO, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's 35-minister cabinet refreshed in a reshuffle Sunday as 10 new ministers were sworn in before President Mohamed Morsi.

The 10 new ministers include Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, who was an assistant of his predecessor; Finance Minister Al-Morsi al-Sayed Hegazi, an economics professor at Alexandria University; Supplies Minister Basem Kamal, an engineering professor at Cairo University; Communication Minister Atef Helmi, communication and technology expert and official; Parliamentary Affairs Minister Omar Mohamed Salem who held the same post in a previous government.

They also include Electricity Minister Ahmed Imam who was deputy of his predecessor; Local Development Minister Mohamed Ali Bishr, engineering professor who was Governor of Monofiya before becoming minister; Civil Aviation Minister Wael al-Maaddawi, aviation expert and air force official and Environment Minister Khaled Mohamed Fahmi who served in various official positions in the field.

Among the cabinet newcomers there is Transportation Minister Hatem Abdel-Latif, an expert in road engineering whose predecessor resigned over train-bus crash in November 2012 that killed over 50 children.

At least three out of the ten new ministers belong to President Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group, namely the ministers of supplies, transportation and local development. While it is uncertain whether or not the new electricity minister is an MB member, the new finance minister is known to be close to the group but not a member.

Morsi met the full cabinet following the presidential oath ceremony to discuss the ongoing political, economic and social challenges facing the country.

"The cabinet with its new formation is considered a step toward democratic development, along with a new constitution that defines the government's responsibilities and gives it full power to set the general polices of the state," Prime Minister Hesham Qandil told a press conference.

Although the cabinet reshuffle was hailed by Islamists, the main supporters of President Morsi, the move is seen by opposition as an MB attempt to dominate the short-term cabinet before the upcoming parliamentary elections.

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