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Egypt unveils first cabinet since Morsi ouster

© Screen grab from Egyptian state TV

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-07-17

Egypt's interim President Adli Mansour swore in the country's first government Tuesday after the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi. State TV showed the ministers taking the oath in the presence of caretaker Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi.

Egypt’s interim President Adli Mansour has sworn in a new cabinet, the first since Islamist president Mohammed Morsi was ousted by the military nearly two weeks ago.

The new government, sworn in live on state television on Tuesday, is led by Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, an economist, and features the promotion of Defence Minister General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who ousted Morsi on July 3, to deputy prime minister. He also retains the defence portfolio.

The appointment of al-Sisi is likely to reinforce the argument of those critical of the new government, FRANCE 24 Cairo correspondent Ashraf Khalil said on Tuesday.

“One of the main points among the international community is whether the overthrow of Morsi was a coup or whether it was a revolution,” he said.

“Appointing a serving military man to the post of deputy prime minister is going to enforce the perception that this entire process is backed by the military.”

One member of Morsi’s government – Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim – remains in his post.

Nabil Fahmy, who was Egypt’s ambassador to the US from 1999-2008, becomes foreign minister.

Underlining the relatively liberal outlook of the new government, Mansour also named three women to the cabinet – which has 33 members in total – taking the powerful ministries of information and health as well as the environment ministry.

Most past governments for decades have had at most two women in them.

In a first, Mansour also swore in an icon of Egyptian football as youth minister. Midfielder Taher Abu Zeid starred in Cairo’s el-Ahly club and the national side in the 1980s.

Brotherhood defiant

The cabinet does not include any figures from Islamist parties. The interim president’s spokesman had said posts would be offered to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, but the group refused, saying it would not participate in the military-backed political process.

Supporters of the ousted Islamist government have vowed to continue demonstrations against what they call a coup d’état. “The Brotherhood is acting with complete defiance, complete rejection,” Khalil said.

The swearing-in of the new government came just hours after clashes between police and Islamist supporters of Morsi left seven protesters dead in the worst outbreak of violence in a week.

The overnight riots broke out soon after the most senior US official to visit Egypt since Morsi was toppled concluded a round of talks with the country’s interim leaders, in which he called for the Brotherhood to be included in the political process.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-07-16

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