Egypt’s parliament approves cabinet changes
Some of the replaced ministers were accused of wasting public funds amidst a dire economic situation in Egypt. (AFP/File)
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The Egyptian parliament approved the second cabinet reshuffle involving nine ministers.
The cabinet reshuffle include the ministries of agriculture, legal and parliamentary affairs, supply and trade, local development, planning and administrative reform, higher education and scientific research, and transport.
The ministries of investment and international cooperation will be merged into a single ministry, as will the ministries of education and technical education.
At the parliament, a number of MPs argued with Prime Minister Sharif Ismail opposing the choice of Minister of Agriculture who is accused of wasting public funds.
Speaker Ali Abdul Aal announced the parliament’s approval after it was put to vote in the presence of the PM. The session witnessed several disputes after 25-30 Coalition MPs refused to vote by hand, which prompted the speaker to require a vote by standing up.
Abdel-Moneim al-Banna was voted as a new agriculture minister in place of Essam Fayed.
Omar Marwan will replace Magdi El-Agati as a minister of legal and parliamentary affairs.
Minister of international cooperation Sahar Nasr will now become responsible for the newly-merged ministry of investment and international cooperation.
Ali el-Sayed Meselhy, who resigned from his position as head of the parliament’s economic committee, was named as minister of supply and internal trading. The Constitution’s Article 164 stipulates that no one is allowed to combine “membership in the government and membership in the House of Representatives.”
Mohamed Hesham el-Sherif was appointed as minister of local development in place of Ahmed Zaki Badr, while Hala Helmy will replace Ashraf el-Arabi as minister of planning.
This is the second time since its establishment almost 18 months ago that the government of PM Ismail has been reshuffled.
Ismail’s cabinet has faced criticism over Egypt’s dire economic situation, which has recently seen major currency devaluation and rising commodity price.
In a statement issued Monday evening, Ismail said the move was aimed at “achieving the goals outlined in the current government’s economic reform program”.
In mid-January, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stated during an interview that there will be a cabinet reshuffle for certain ministries. It had been delayed since then because several candidates refused to assume portfolios.
Most of the replaced ministers didn’t comment on the reshuffle, but former investment minister Dalia Khorshid said she was proud of the time she served the country under the leadership of Sisi.
By Mohamed Hassan Shaban
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