Cairo: A new Egyptian government, comprising 20 members from the previous cabinet, took the oath of office amid criticism.
Powerful Defence Minister Abdul Fattah Al Sissi took the oath before caretaker President Adly Mansour in a televised ceremony in Cairo. Al Sissi, who led the overthrow of Islamist president Mohammad Mursi in July last year, has been re-appointed as deputy premier and defence minister. He is a likely contender in Egypt’s presidential elections expected to be held either in late April or early May.
Other ministers kept from the government of Hazem Al Beblawi, who resigned on Monday, include those of the interior, information, planning, local development, religious affairs, tourism, oil, telecommunications, culture, antiquities, trade, education, irrigation, the environment, youth and sports, transitional justice, agriculture.
New faces in the government, headed by Ebrahim Mehleb, include ministers of higher education, housing, electricity, civil aviation, military production, manpower, finance, social solidarity, health, justice and supply.
Mehleb, who served as housing minister in Al Beblawi, has pledged to make stability and security the top priorities of his government, which is expected to remain in office until a new president is elected.
However, Mehleb’s re-appointment of many members of the previous government has brought him under early fire.
“The ministers have been picked in the same old way,” said Waheed Abdul Majid, an expert at the state-run Al Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies. “With the new premier showing in the formation process of having no inspiring vision, then we should not expect any distinguished performance from his government.”
The new government is made up of 33 ministerial portfolios compared to 36 in Al Beblawi’s cabinet.
Mehleb’s government is Egypt’s second since Mursi’s removal after massive street demonstrations against his one-year rule.