1 March 2014

Egypt: New Mehlib Government Retains Defense Minister Sissi

Photo: Ahmed Hamed/Aswat Masriya
Former housing minister Ibrahim Mahlab named new prime minister.

Egypt's new Cabinet has been sworn in days after the country's interim president chose a new prime minister. The new Cabinet keeps Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi as the country's defense minister.

On Saturday, state television aired the swearing-in live from the presidential palace. Former Housing Minister Ibrahim Mehlib, who held a senior position in the now dissolved party of ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak, leads the new Cabinet of an embattled Egypt.

Defense Minister Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi, widely expected to run for president, retained his post, as well as that of vice prime minister. The country's interior minister, in charge of police, also remains the same.

Sissi, who has emerged as Egypt's most popular political figure since he led the coup that overthrew elected Islamist president Mohammed Morsi last July, has not yet announced his candidacy in the election scheduled for this spring. However, his aides say he has already decided to stand. In order to do so, Sissi must first step down as defense minister and army chief.

In a surprise on Monday, the Cabinet resigned, including the acting prime minister, Hazem el-Beblawi. Mehlib kept 20 ministers from the previous government and appointed 11 new ones, mostly technocrats.

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