Nine ministers were on Tuesday replaced in the Egyptian government headed by Prime Minister Hesham Qandil, a senior cabinet official said. Qandil had on Monday indicated that 11 ministers would be replaced.
New faces in the government includes Yahya Hamed, a member of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood, who has been named investment minister, according to the cabinet spokesman Ala’a Al Hadidi.
Omar Deraj, another Brotherhood official, has been assigned the planning and international cooperation portfolio. The new appointments raise to seven the number of Brotherhood officials in the cabinet.
President Mohamed Morsi hails from the Brotherhood, which the opposition accuses of seeking to tighten its hold on power.
Hatem Begato, a former judge, has been named minister of parliamentary affairs, while the Ministry of Justice has gone to Ahmad Sulaiman, a former assistant justice minister, Al Hadidi said.
Other ministers replaced in the shake-up include those who had been heading the oil, finance, agriculture, culture and antiquities departments.
Holders of key ministries including those of defence, interior, foreign affairs and information, have kept their posts.
The new ministers were to be sworn in before Morsi later in the day before he headed off to Brazil for the first visit by an Egyptian head of state there.
The reshuffle was the third effected by the Qandil government since it took office in August last year. The cabinet revamp was immediately dismissed as “futile” by the secular-leaning opposition. “This is a futile change. The real change should come through forming a neutral government to supervise the forthcoming parliamentary elections,” said Mohammad Abul Gar, a senior official in the opposition bloc, the National Salvation Front. “It is illogical to allow a Brotherhood government to oversee these elections,” he told Private Al Nahar television.
The opposition has repeatedly called for a complete revamp of the government, including Qandil’s sacking, in the run-up to the elections expected later this year.
By Ramadan Al Sherbini