Kandil pledges people’s govt, calls for unity
Egypt’s prime minister-designate pledged on Thursday that his new 35-member cabinet would be a “people’s government” and called on Egyptians to rally behind it and the nation’s newly elected president in the face of “grave challenges”.
The US-educated Hesham Kandil also confirmed that Hosni Mubarak’s defence minister of 20 years, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, will retain the post. Tantawi led the military generals who took over from Mubarak when the president stepped down after a popular uprising.
The new cabinet’s line-up appeared aimed at allaying worries that hardliners will monopolise power in the government — three Brotherhood members were given ministries and several members of the outgoing, military-backed government will retain their posts, including the foreign and finance ministers.
“We are all Egyptians in the Arab Republic of Egypt. The coming period is not easy, to say the least, and we are all in the same boat,” Kandil told a news conference. “This is the people’s government, it does not belong to this or that trend.”
The new government comes at a time when tensions are rising over the country’s tenuous security, violence and growing discontent over issues such as power and water outages as well as shortages.
Mursi’s choice of Kandil has angered the liberals and leftists. In his 40s, he maintains that he has no formal links to any of the country’s religious political parties.
The Al Nour party, which supported Mursi in his presidential bid, decided to boycott the government after it was only offered the environment portfolio. It had wanted the communication, local development and business sector ministries, according to a party spokesman.
The cabinet lineup includes only two women — one of them also a Christian — and signaled Mursi’s failure to give women and minority Christians more than the token representation they had under Mubarak’s rule.