Egypt Independent

Minister insists on resignation over Luxor appointment



Tourism Minister Hesham Zazou has insisted on resigning in protest against the appointment of a former Jama'a al-Islamiya leader as governor of Luxor, ministry spokesperson Rasha Azaizy said.

Azaizy revealed Zazou has refused to go back on his decision, during statements to the press on Wednesday. His resignation was a direct response to the international outcry provoked by President Mohamed Morsy's decision to appoint Jama'a al-Islamiya official Adel Assad as governor.

Zazou reportedly briefed Prime Minister Hesham Qandil on international – and tourism agencies' – responses to the announcement.

Qandil asked Zazou to maintain his position but the minister insisted on resigning, Azaizy told reporters.

In an official statement on Tuesday, Zazou criticised the appointment of Luxor Governor Adel Assad, saying the decision " has serious repercussions for the entire tourism industry and warns of grave consequences."  

On Tuesday, Qandil rejected the minister’s resignation while expressing understanding over his stated reasons.

The prime minister promised to examine the situation and submit a report to the president.

Mahfouz Aly, head of the tourism minister's technical bureau, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Qandil received a dossier from Zazou containing responses from international newspapers and tourism federations’ in Egypt and the wider world.

A source from the Tourism Ministry said Zazou faced intense pressure from the tourism sector immediately after Morsy's announcement. Tour operators claimed the decision brought back memories of the 1997 Luxor massacre, which killed almost 60 foreign visitors. 

The new governor has faced repeat allegations of involvement in the attack.

In a Tuesday statement, Egypt's Salafi Nour party called on Morsy to review appointments made so far, claiming official picks should be made on the basis of experience and competence rather than loyalty and political affiliation.