Egypt’s PM bans bottled water, foregoes extra security convoy

In gestures to win over the public's confidence, Ebrahim Mehleb is taking steps to humble the government

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Egypt’s new Prime Minister Ebrahim Mehleb has banned bottled water from the government headquarters, claiming he will drink tap water, Gulf News reported Saturday.

The move, Mehleb explained, is meant to humble the government to the level of the people.


“This step emanates from my keenness to cut spending and share the average people their lifestyle,” Mehleb, an ex-housing minister, told reporters on Friday.

The former ex-housing minister said he was confident in the quality of the tap water in Egypt. He announced the bar on bottled water at the end of a meeting meant to finalize the line-up of the new Egyptian government.

In another gesture to win the public’s confidence and trust, Mehleb said he had cancelled the motorcades that typically accompany Egyptian premiers.

“I’ll move in one car only because I fear nobody but God. I have confidence in the Egyptian security and realize well the necessity of working to regain the Egyptian citizen’s confidence,” he added.

Government officials are usually driven in multi-car convoys escorted by bodyguards, adding to the country’s legendary traffic jams.

A new Egyptian government was sworn in on Saturday, with popular army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi re-appointed as the now-sole deputy premier and defense minister, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

The new government is Egypt’s second since the military toppled Islamist president Mohammad Mursi in July last year following massive street protests against his one-year rule.

The new cabinet, led by new Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, was unveiled after the previous government resigned on Monday amid mounting criticism of its failure to tackle a floundering economy and worsening industrial unrest.

Sisi previously held the position of defense minister in the previous government. He is widely expected to win the forthcoming presidential election but has yet to formally announce his candidacy. He must vacate the position of defense minister in order to run.

Sisi backed the previous government through tumultuous times, including a heavy crackdown on ousted President Mohammed Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement and a nationwide referendum that adopted a new constitution while Islamic militant insurgency and terror attacks surged.

Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim has kept his post, along with 20 other ministers.

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