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Egyptian Generals to Play Musical Chairs with Cabinet
April 29, 2012

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In yet another announcement spurred by public unrest, Egypt's ruling generals announced that they would reshuffle the Cabinet within two days.

The announcement from Speaker Saad el-Katatni was in response to Parliament's suspension of sessions until an entirely new Cabinet was in place. The message from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces was a bit of a concession but not what the lawmakers had demanded. Instead, ministers will change places but no new faces will emerge until July at the earliest.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood make up nearly half of the representation of both houses of Parliament, and the Brotherhood has made it clear that it wants a new Cabinet right away. Leading the current Cabinet is Kamal el-Ganzouri, who was Prime Minister in the 1990s under President Hosni Mubarak and then again directly after Mubarak fled. The generals, however, are content to wait until the new President is in place, at the end of June, before going any further with a change in the executive branch of government.

The generals are the executive branch at the moment, with near-supreme powers over most aspects of Egyptian life. The members of Parliament who have been in session for several weeks now have requested more transparency in decisions made by the generals and more of a say in what is happening overall in the government.

Street unrest mirrored the legal dispute, with protesters clashing with security forces in Cairo and elsewhere, resulting in one death and numerous arrests. Protesters and the Brotherhood continue to express their discontent with a court's recent decision to disband the committee tasked with writing the country's new constitution. Disputes over membership of the panel nearly scuttled its information, and now its main purpose is unclear after the entire membership has been sent home. Members of Parliament have been negotiating with the ruling generals over the terms and membership of a new writing committee.

Such protests have gained in number in recent weeks, as the people who led the movement against Mubarak have become increasingly frustrated with the slow pace of reform and, in some cases, the lack of information coming from the ruling generals.

 
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