Egypt Nour Party says would accept ex-finance min as interim PM

CAIRO Tue Jul 9, 2013 4:50am EDT

File photo of Samir Radwan as he arrives for a meeting with Crown Prince of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the Egyptian Armed Forces Supreme Council, in Cairo June 30, 2011. REUTERS/Amel Pain/Pool

File photo of Samir Radwan as he arrives for a meeting with Crown Prince of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the Egyptian Armed Forces Supreme Council, in Cairo June 30, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Amel Pain/Pool

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's Nour Party, the country's second-biggest Islamist group after the Muslim Brotherhood, said on Tuesday it would accept the choice of former finance minister Samir Radwan as interim prime minister.

Nour Party spokesman Nader Bakkar said the party would accept Radwan because he met the party's criteria that he be a "technocrat" economist and have previous experience in government administration.

Senior political sources said on Monday that Radwan had emerged as the favorite for the post.

The military-backed transitional administration is keen to win Nour's support for a new government to show it is acceptable to Islamists after the army toppled the Brotherhood's Mohamed Mursi last week.

"We asked for a technocrat economist ... a neutral guy," Bakkar told Reuters by phone.

Nour had said last week it would not accept former U.N. diplomat Mohamed ElBaradei as interim prime minister, deepening the turmoil surrounding the transition.

Egypt's main shares index rose 1.7 percent after Nour said it would accept Radwan.

Nour, an ultra-conservative Islamist party, said on Monday it was pulling out of negotiations over the new government in response to the killing of at least 51 pro-Mursi protesters at the Republican Guard barracks in Cairo.

Bakkar said the party still had influence on the process "through some channels."

He said Nour was now focusing on working with other political forces to form a "wisdom committee" to get the country out of its crisis.

Asked whether he thought Radwan was likely to be appointed prime minister, Bakkar said: "I think it is a strong possibility."

(Reporting by Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Peter Graff)

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