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Egypt's ministers of finance and foreign affairs said on Wednesday they were keeping their posts in a new government being formed by Prime Minister-designate Hesham Qandil, Reuters reported.
Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr and Finance Minister Momtaz al-Saeed confirmed they would stay on after a meeting with Qandil, who is due to formally announce his Cabinet Thursday.
Major General Ahmed Gamal Eddin, the director of the National Intelligence Authority, would replace incumbent Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim. Gamal Eddin, a career policeman similar to those who held the job under Mubarak, pledged to confront the lawlessnness of which Egyptians have complained since Mubarak was deposed. "Egypt needs security and stability," he said after meeting Qandil.
But the main surprise in the Cabinet formation was in the Ministry of Endowments, which went to the moderate professor Osama al-Abd, the president of Al-Azhar University.
Controversy surfaced after Salafi preacher Mohamed Yousry Ibrahim announced that he was a nominee for endowments minister.
Ibrahim is the general secretary of the Jurisprudence Commission for Rights and Reform. The Salafi-oriented board also includes Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat al-Shater and other group members. Ibrahim denied Shater was pushing for his nomination.
Some speculated that Ibrahim would be a reward for Salafis for backing Morsy in the presidential election. Many voiced concerns that Ibrahim heading the Endowments Ministry would pave the way for Salafis to dominate it. The ministry is responsible for the vast number of mosques in the country.
Nile News, a state-run television station, ran the a list of nominees for the ministerial posts on its breaking news bar. According to a reporter for the channel, Qandil has already finalized the formation of the Cabinet, and some new ministers made statements to the press at the cabinet building.
Nile News reported that Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Ali would maintain his post. Mohamed Rashad, an engineering professor at Cairo University, will reportedly be named transportation minister, and Hany Mahmoud, a former director of the cabinet's Information and Decision Support Center is expected to head the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.
The website of state-run newspaper Al-Ahram said Nadia Zakhary would stay on as minister of scientific research and Nagwa Khalil would remain minister of insurance and social affairs.
Mostafa Mosaad, who was responsible for education issues in President Mohamed Morsy's presidential campaign, will reportedly be appointed minister of higher education.
Osama Saleh, chairman of the Egyptian Investment Authority, said he has accepted the post of investment minister.
Osama Kamal, the director of the Egyptian Petrochemical Holding Company said Wednesday that he had been appointed as minister of petroleum, while Mahmoud Balbaa, the director of the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company may be named electricity and energy minister. Governor of Kafr al-Sheikh Ahmed Zaky Abdeen is a possible nominee to head the Ministry of Local Development.
Qandil's appointment of at least two Brotherhood politicians, including one as education minister, marked a major break with the past. But the cabinet's heavy reliance on civil servants also smacked of the Mubarak era, when government was run by technocrats.
The new cabinet should help President Mohamed Morsy assert more authority in a state where the army still has a powerful say. The choice of defense minister was one of the few portfolios not announced on Wednesday.
A little-known technocrat, Qandil was irrigation minister in the outgoing Cabinet led by Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri — who was appointed by the military council and a premier under ousted leader Hosni Mubarak. Qandil has said he would put qualifications before political allegiances when choosing his Cabinet members.
The president's office had said the new ministers would be sworn in on Thursday. The government formation ends a month long wait for the first administration of the Morsy era. The Muslim Brotherhood politician, who was sworn in on 30 June, has been criticized for the amount of time it took him to name his prime minister.
Faced by an economy hit by 18 months of political instability, the new government will need to move fast to address acute economic problems including a looming balance of payments crisis and unaffordable state borrowing costs.
"We are a long way from a revolutionary government, a long way from renewing the blood at the top of the Egyptian administration," said Mustapha Kamal al-Sayyid, a professor of political science at Cairo University.