Egypt: President Mubarak swears in new cabinet
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak swore in a new Cabinet on Wednesday, the seventh in his 22 years in power, welcoming a group that includes economic-minded reformists close to the president's son and widely speculated successor.
Mubarak, with Egypt's new Prime Minister Ahmed Nazief, held his first meeting with the 34 ministers of the new Cabinet, in which a new investment ministry was created and younger faces were introduced, at a presidential palace in suburban Cairo.
Nazief, a former communication and information technology minister, was chosen last week by the president to form the government. At 52, he will be one of Egypt's youngest prime ministers.
The president's son, Gamal Mubarak, a 41-year old investment banker who moved up in the ruling party to head the powerful policy committee in 2002, has promised political and economic reform.
At least seven of the 34 Cabinet members are on Gamal's committee - and according to analysts, that will give them a better chance at dealing with bureaucracy, economic stagnation, and lack of foreign investment in the country of 70 million. Others say the change only brings Gamal one step closer to power.
He and his father have denied he is being groomed for succession, but Gamal has said he cannot stop people from nominating him for president.
Of the 34 ministers, 20 remain from the previous government. All the 14 new faces are technocrats drawn from the business world and academia.
Nazief consolidated the ministries of foreign trade and industry into one headed by Rashid Mohammed Rashid, a 49-year old businessman. He created an investment ministry headed by the youngest face in the new Cabinet, Mahmoud Mohieddin, a 39-year-old economist.
Two ministers in government for 20 years - outgoing Agriculture Minister Youssef Waly, known for his trade ties with Israel, and outgoing Information Minister Safwat el-Sherif - left the Cabinet.
The key ministers of defense and interior retained their posts in the new Cabinet, but the foreign ministry went to Egypt's envoy to the United Nations, Ahmed Abu el Gheith. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)