Egypt's Morsi reshuffles cabinet

2013-01-06 15:41
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. (AFP)

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. (AFP)

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Cairo - Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi reshuffled his cabinet on Sunday amid a serious economic crisis and ahead of talks with the International Monetary Fund for a $4.8bn loan, media reports said.

Ten new ministers swore oath, including Finance Minister Al-Morsi al-Sayyed Hegazi, whose predecessor Mumtaz al-Said headed the IMF loan negotiations which stalled during a period of intense political unrest in December.

Hegazi, a specialist in Islamic finance, will report to Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, who remains in his post.

The Muslim Brotherhood, from which Islamist Morsi emanates, had criticised Said as being too close to the army, which held power during the transitional period after the overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Mohammed Ibrahim, a former police general, replaced Ahmed Gamal al-Din as interior minister, and eight other portfolios all related to the economy changed hands.

The ministers for transport, electricity, domestic development, civil aviation, the environment, communications, supply and domestic trade and parliamentary affairs were all replaced.

Morsi announced the reshuffle on 26 December, after the ratification by popular vote of a controversial new constitution draft by an Islamist-dominated panel allied to the president.

He said he wanted a cabinet more suited to the economic crisis the country faces.

Egypt loan request to the IMF, made last August, was suspended for a month on 11 December, with Cairo saying the postponement was "because of the political situation in the country".

The IMF and Egyptian authorities had provisionally agreed on the 22-month loan - aimed at helping the government bridge financial shortfalls through fiscal 2013-2014 - on November 20.

A top IMF official will visit Egypt on Monday for talks that are likely to focus on the loan.

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