Egypt's cabinet to be formed by Sunday, many ministers to stay: sources

CAIRO Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:15am EDT

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (front, white) rides a bicycle with few hundred Egyptians outside the military college in Cairo, June 13, 2014, in this handout picture provided by the Egyptian Presidency.  REUTERS/Egyptian Presidency/Handout via Reuters

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (front, white) rides a bicycle with few hundred Egyptians outside the military college in Cairo, June 13, 2014, in this handout picture provided by the Egyptian Presidency.

Credit: Reuters/Egyptian Presidency/Handout via Reuters

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is expected to unveil a new cabinet by Sunday, three officials said on Friday, with the finance minister and others likely to keep their posts following the election of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Keeping the main ministers could allow Sisi to quickly implement the types of reform urged by the United Arab Emirates - one of the Gulf states that gave billions of dollars in aid after Islamist President Mohamed Mursi was ousted by the army.

Sisi, the former army chief who was inaugurated last Sunday reappointed Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb last week.

Consultations on the cabinet lineup are ongoing, state radio reported on Friday. Mehleb has said the current government would stay on in a caretaker role until he forms his cabinet.

The new cabinet is expected to be sworn in on Sunday, two ministers said, speaking on condition of anonymity. It is likely to convene for the first time on Monday, another government source said.

Finance Minister Hany Kadry Dimian is expected to stay, as are the ministers for planning and international cooperation, supplies, housing, industry, defense and interior, government sources have said.

Educated at Columbia University in the United States, Dimian worked as a senior finance ministry official for more than five years until he resigned last year under Mursi.

A senior European diplomat has described him as the only ministry expert able to deal professionally with the International Monetary Fund during a failed attempt under Mursi to secure a $4.8 billion loan.

Mehleb, 65, was appointed prime minister in a February reshuffle after serving as housing minister. A civil engineer, he is a former chairman of Arab Contractors, one of the region's largest construction companies.

He worked briefly in Saudi Arabia before joining the government following Sisi's overthrow of Mursi last July after mass protests against the Islamist president.

Economists see cutting Egypt's subsidies as central to any meaningful fiscal reform. The finance ministry said last month it would cut its subsidies bill, but still forecast a deficit of around 12 percent of gross domestic product in the new fiscal year starting on July 1.

The ultra-conservative Salafist Nour party has said it is willing to join a cabinet under Sisi.

(Reporting by Yasmine Saleh and Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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