Egyptian PM says cabinet to reshuffle by Tuesday morning

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Egypt’s Prime Minister Hisham Qandil said a cabinet reshuffle of 11 ministerial changes will be announced by Tuesday morning, in a move which falls short of opposition demands and bolsters the ruling Islamists.

The opposition had demanded a unity government and Qandil’s sacking, but a partial list of new ministers published by the official MENA agency includes at least one affiliated with President Mohamed Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

The ministries affected include oil, higher education and agriculture, official news agency MENA reported. A replacement will be named for the justice minister, Ahmed Mekky, who resigned.

Mursi promised the reshuffle last month after months of pressure from the opposition, but the changes fall short of their demands for a complete overhaul and Qandil’s dismissal.

“The reshuffle will take place today or by tomorrow morning at the latest,” Qandil told state television.

The Muslim Brotherhood movement already has seven ministers, or less than a third of the cabinet. Its Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) had also called for a reshuffle to gain more seats.

According to MENA, senior FJP member Amr Darrag may become the new higher education minister.

Mursi has repeatedly declared his confidence in Qandil, whose sacking is demanded by a coalition of opposition groups who accuse him of having mismanaged Egypt’s dire economy.

The opposition has set his departure as a condition for dropping a boycott of parliamentary elections, possibly in the autumn.

The opposition’s protracted deadlock with Mursi has delayed a much needed $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.

Qandil’s government, appointed after Mursi’s election in June, has tried to cope with a battered economy despite billions of dollars in aid from energy-rich Qatar and some other countries.

On Sunday, Qandil’s security opened fire at a car carrying five people that had cut into the official convoy as it crossed the capital’s October 6 Bridge across the Nile.


The fire was returned from the car before the driver and the passengers were arrested.

A security official said the suspects claimed they had been unaware of Qandil’s presence in the motorcade and had not shot at his car.

The injured man was an unsuspecting motorist.

Egyptian media reported in February that protesters threw stones and bottles at the prime minister’s motorcade as he tried to enter Cairo’s Tahrir Square after overnight clashes nearby and at the presidential palace.

His office said in a statement later, without elaborating, that he had been “confronted by youths and troublemakers”.

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