Egypt's cabinet denies central bank governor resigned

CAIRO Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:35pm EST

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's cabinet on Saturday denied a report that central bank governor Farouk El-Okdah had resigned.

After a long period of speculation that the governor wanted to leave his post, state television had said Okdah had quit and his former deputy, Hisham Ramez, had been appointed to the post.

"It is not true," cabinet spokesman Alaa Hadidi told Reuters when asked about the reported resignation. "I am officially denying it."

Okdah and his former deputy had helped steer the central bank during last year's uprising that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak and worked to keep the Egyptian currency relatively stable despite the political turmoil.

Egypt's Vice President Mahmoud Mekky resigned on Saturday while Egyptians voted in a referendum that is expected to approve a new constitution that lays the foundations for the country's transition to democracy.

The new constitution does not envisage a vice-presidential position. A presidential source said that both Mekky and Okdah had expressed a desire to resign more than once before.

Mekky said in his resignation letter that he had wanted to quit in November, but stayed on to help the president through a political crisis in the run-up to the constitution vote.

Okdah's fate has been a persistent subject of media speculation. (Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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