Egypt’s PM announces nine new ministers in cabinet reshuffle

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As part of a cabinet reshuffle of nine ministerial changes, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood will be appointed planning minister, state media reported on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Hisham Qandil announced nine changes to his cabinet including the appointment of Amr Darrag, a senior official in the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, as planning minister.

The outgoing minister, Ashraf al-Arabi, had played a central role in talks with the IMF over a $4.8 billion loan seen as crucial to easing a deep economic crisis. Egypt has yet to seal a deal with the IMF.

Fayyad Abdel Moneim, a specialist in Islamic economics, was appointed as finance minister, replacing Al-Mursi Al-Sayed Hegazy, another expert on Islamic finance who was appointed in January, the last time Qandil reshuffled the cabinet.

Abdel Moneim received a doctorate from Al-Azhar University in Islamic economics in 1999, according to Reuters.

The government has been widely criticized for failing to revive an economy that is in deep crisis because of more than two years of political turmoil.

Another Brotherhood member, Yehya Hamed, was appointed investment minister. The new cabinet includes at least 10 politicians affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood or the FJP, compared to eight in the old one.

Ahmed Suleiman was named as justice minister, replacing Ahmed Mekky, who resigned last month in protest at efforts by Mursi's Islamist allies to purge the judiciary.

The ministers of interior, defense and foreign affairs were left unchanged.

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 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.

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