PM Ganzouri swears in new cabinet

Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri’s new cabinet was sworn in on Wednesday before Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

The new cabinet includes 12 ministers from former PM Essam Sharaf’s cabinet. The ministers who have kept their jobs include the ministers of electricity, international cooperation, housing, tourism, social solidarity, petroleum, local development, religious endowments, the foreign affairs, industry, water resources and irrigation, and military production.

Ganzouri chose Major General Mohammed Ibrahim as Egypt’s new interior minister. Ibraham is considered the architect of the forced evacuation of Sudanese refugees protesting in Mostafa Mahmoud Square in Mohandiseen in December 2005.

The Sudanese refugees were protesting outside the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to demand the right to asylum in European countries, and their evacuation resulted in the deaths of at least 25 people, including several children.

Major General Ahmed Anis, former head of the Morale Affairs Department of the armed forces was sworn in as the new minister of information. News reports criticized the choice, saying it was another move by the SCAF to maintain control of the media.

The new ministers include Mohamed Abdel Kader Salem, who was sworn in as the new minister of communications and information technology, Counselor Adel Abdel Hamid Abdullah as justice minister, Gamal Mostafa Mohamed al-Sayed as transport minister, and Momtaz Mohamed al-Said Abu al-Nur as finance minister.

Hussein Masoud was sworn in as the new minister of civil aviation, Hussein Mustafa as the minister of higher education, Nagwa Hussein Khalil as minister of social insurance, Fouad al-Nawawi as minister of health and population, and Fathy Fekry as minister of manpower and immigration.

The new ministers also include Shaker Abdel Hamid Suleiman as the new minister of culture, Gamal Araby as the minister of education, Nadia Iskandar as the minister of scientific research, Mohamed Ibrahim Sayed as the minister of antiquities, Mostafa Hussein as the minister of environment, and Mahmoud Reda Ismail Abdel Hadi as the minister of agriculture and land reclamation.

In announcing the new cabinet, government officials referred to it as a "national salvation government," a term originally used to describe the transitional civilian government proposed by pro-democracy activists and political figures seeking to bring an end to military rule. The idea of a civilian transitional government was put forward during the violent clashes in and around Tahrir Square in late November, and would most likely have been headed by Mohamed ElBaradei and included former Muslim Brotherhood figure Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh. Had it been formed, the national salvation government would have taken on the executive powers currently held by the military council.

However, the military rejected the poposal, instead accepting the resignation of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, and the replacing him with Ganzouri. In forming his new cabinet, Ganzouri has adopted the term "national salvation government," while ElBaradei and many pro-democracy figure continue to demand the end of military rule.

After being sworn in, the new cabinet was instructed by Tantawi to push for democracy in order to achieve a free society, according to official government sources.

Tantawi called on the new cabinet ministers to improve the security situation in the country and support the security forces in their work, thus allowing the military to return to their barracks. He also instructed them to prepare financial reform to increase the state’s resources and reduce general expenditures.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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