25 February 2014

Egypt: Ibrahim Mehlib Named New Prime Minister

Photo: Ahmed Hamed/Aswat Masriya
Former housing minister, Ibrahim Mahlab, appointed as new prime minister.

Egypt's interim presidency has named Ibrahim Mehlib as the country's next prime minister. The former construction magnate takes over for Hazem el-Bablaw, who resigned on Monday.

Interim president Adly Mansour announced Mehlib's appointment on Tuesday, a day after Egypt's cabinet stepped down.

Mehlib, who led the country's largest construction company for more than a decade, told reporters that his cabinet members will be "holy warriors" in the service of the Egyptian people.

"We will work on restoring security and defeating terrorism," Mahlem said at a press conference in Cairo. "Continuing [Egypt's transitional] roadmap is the top priority of this government."

The new cabinet will be formed in three days, he added.

Prior to the 2011 revolution that toppled longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak, Mehlib, a former housing minister, was a senior member of the then-ruling National Democratic Party.

Clearing the way for Sissi

The resignation of el-Bablaw and the rest of Egypt's military-backed government on Monday was seen as paving the way for the country's former Defense Minister Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to run for president. In order to be eligible for the presidency, Sissi had to step down from his ministry post.

Sissi orchestrated the military coup that toppled former President Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected leader, last July. Since then, he has gained widespread support in the country, been lavished with media praise and is widely expected to the presidency in elections slated for April under a new constitution.

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