Sisi ‘to remain’ Egypt’s defense minister

The interior minister, oil minister and planning minister were also reappointed in the new cabinet

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Egypt's army chief field marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will remain as defense minister in the new government, an official source told Reuters news agency on Wednesday.

"He is expected to continue in his post until all the issues regarding the election laws are resolved," the source said.

Sisi 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

Egyptian Prime Minister-designate Ibrahim Mahlab also reappointed three ministers in his new government.

Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim, Oil Minister Sherif Ismail and Planning Minister Ashraf al-Arabi were reappointed on Wednesday but there was no immediate word on who would take the defense ministry, held by army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the outgoing cabinet.

Meanwhile, Mahlab appointed senior supplies ministry official Khaled Hanafi as minister, state TV reported.

Hanafi replaces Mohamed Abu Shadi in the position. The new appointment comes at a time of turmoil for Egypt’s state grain buyer the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), which Hanafi will lead as supplies minister.

Egypt's army-backed interim government resigned unexpectedly on Monday. Mahlab was appointed on Tuesday to form a new government.

In a press conference held shortly after his appointment, Mahlab said he hopes to form a new cabinet within three or four days.

Mahlab said his cabinet members will be “holy warriors” in the service of Egyptians and added that restoring security in the country will be a top priority.

“We will work together to restore security and safety to Egypt and crush terrorism in all corners of the country,” he said.

Mahlab, a former official in deposed President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, is a civil engineer who formerly served as chairman and CEO of Arab Contractors Company, a large Egyptian civil engineering firm.