Egyptian Cabinet Shakeup Complete
January 6, 2013
Egypt's government includes 10 new ministers, the result of a Cabinet-level shakeup promised by President Mohamed Morsi after the approval of the country's constitution.
After two days of voting, a majority of voters approved the draft constitution, which Morsi then signed into law. The upper house of Parliament is once again armed with its legislative powers. The only thing remaining for Egypt's government to be whole is a new lower house of Parliament. Elections for members of that house are expected within a couple of month.
Egypt is still waiting to hear the fate of a proposed $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. A senior IMF official is due in Cairo to discuss the loan. Morsi had delayed the discussions in the wake of the large protests that resulted from his assuming expansive presidential powers in November.
The economy is in dire straits, with foreign currency reserves falling for several months in a row and the national currency at a new low. The prolonged unrest has contributed to a weaker economy, which has rebounded from the dark days of the 2011 unrest that saw the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak but continues to struggle, primarily because the tourist market has yet to rebound in significant numbers.
Prime Minister Hesham Kandil will soon have his first meeting with the new Cabinet, which included new heads of finance, interior, civil aviation, communication, environment, electricity, and parliamentary affairs.
The opposition, which now has a political party led by Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed El-Baradei and former Arab League Amr Moussa, was not offered any of the new ministerial posts.
One of the new government's first important goals will be to convince a skeptical public to embrace an austerity package that is slated to include tax increases and cuts in subsidies.