Thursday, December 8, 2011

New Egyptian government sworn in, Ganzouri gets 'presidential powers'

Ganzouri (l) and Tantawi. (Reuters)
The new Egyptian government of Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri was sworn in on Wednesday afternoon at the headquarters of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in the presence of SCAF head Field-Marshal Hussein Tantawi. At the same time Egypt's army rulers issued a decree handing presidential powers to Ganzouri, but keeping control of military affairs and the judiciary.
In the new cabinet the sensitive post of minister of the Interior went to Mohammed Ibrahim Yusuf, a former police chief from Cairo. The choice may raise some eyebrows (as seems to the case with all choices of interior ministers so far), since Yusuf was severely criticised in December 2005, when the Central Security Forces, under his command, violently dispersed a sit-in staged by Sudanese refugees at Mostafa Mahmoud Square in Cairo’s Mohandessin district, in which 27 refugees were killed and hundreds injured. Yusuf was head of the Giza Security Department at the time. The incident later became known as the “Mostafa Mahmoud massacre.”  
The new finance minister is Mumtaz al-Saeed, while the foreign minister from the former cabinet, Mohammed Kamel Amr, was reappointed.
El-Ganzouri has faced difficulties forming his cabinet over the past two weeks, having been rebuffed by several revolutionary personalities who were offered cabinet portfolios. As a consequence most of his appointed government consists of academics and veteran bureaucrats.

The 6 April Youth Movement has reiterated its refusal of the new government. Mahmoud Afifi, a spokesman of the movement, said that it does not reflect the revolutionary forces’ will and cannot be named a national salvation government, since all of El-Ganzouri’s ministers are from the dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP) which was headed by ousted president Hosni Mubarak. Afifi said that the 6 April Movement firmly sticks to its demand that a national salvation government be appointed, and that it would have full powers, effectively supplanting the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

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