* Industry, foreign ministers, others also changing
* Protesters say moves go some way to fulfilling demands
* Analysts say economic policy likely constrained by army
* Report of Mubarak coma denied, some see a ploy
(Adds Mubarak health speculation, ministerial changes, quotes)
By Edmund Blair
CAIRO, July 17 Egypt picked a new finance
minister on Sunday as part of a broad cabinet reshuffle demanded
by protesters camped out in central Cairo, and the outgoing
minister said policy making had become "confused".
The changes went some way to fulfilling demands of
protesters, who have also called for a swift trial of Hosni
Mubarak, 83. The former president's lawyer on Sunday said he had
slipped into a coma but state media denied the report.
Mubarak has been hospitalised in the Red Sea resort of Sharm
el-Sheikh since he was questioned in April and his health is
often subject to speculation. Many Egyptians see his illness as
a ruse to keep him out of court.
Protesters ended Mubarak's 30-year rule on Feb. 11, but many
are frustrated the army council has not moved faster to shake up
the system and purge the ex-president's officials.
Samir Radwan, who was appointed finance minister shortly
before Mubarak left, will be replaced by Hazem el-Beblawi, 74,
who has been an adviser to the Arab Monetary Fund in Abu Dhabi.
Other names were also announced, including foreign minister.
The new finance minister could find policy initiatives
vetoed by the army as his predecessor, Radwan, found when he
secured a loan from the International Monetary Fund only to have
the plan shot down, economists said.
Prime Minister Essam Sharaf's new cabinet is expected to
take the oath of office on Monday.
Beblawi told reporters after his appointment that his aim
was "restoring as much confidence as possible to Egypt's
economy" and said there should be a cap on higher paid state
employees, Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper reported on it website.
"It is unacceptable that one employee's salary is a thousand
times bigger that another's," he said.
The new minister also said he did not intend to amend the
general budget set by his predecessor. "This budget had been
approved based on the law, it would be dangerous to change or
amend it -- that would lead to more tension," he said.
State media listed new names for posts such as higher
education, health, agriculture and communication. The general in
charge of military production, in post since Mubarak's era and
criticised by protesters, was replaced by another general.
The official news agency said some posts, such as justice,
interior, information and education, might not change.
"Until now, the list of names mentioned included many names
proposed by youth groups," said Ahmed Maher of the April 6
movement, adding Interior Minister Mansour el-Essawy, who is
expected to keep his job, had won over some protesters by
shaking up the police force last week.
Sharaf promised a reshuffle as one of several concessions
offered by him and the army to placate protesters. Some
demonstrators said more action was needed.
"We are waiting for a change in situation and not in names,"
an Egyptian, Marwa Abdel Sattar, wrote on the cabinet's Facebook
page as ministerial changes were announced.
Demonstrators have stayed in Cairo's Tahrir Square since
July 8, increasingly directing their anger at the army.
An army general, Tarek el-Mahdy, addressed the crowd in
Tahrir on Saturday. Witnesses said dozens of angry protesters
heckled him to leave the podium.
Radwan told Reuters the policy-making situation had become
"confused" and he believed it best to "leave the way for
somebody to handle it in a consistent and coherent manner".
"People don't know what they want. Do they want increased
expenditure and no borrowing from abroad? Everybody has suddenly
become an expert on financial policy. That is not an atmosphere
conducive to efficient work," Radwan said.
Radwan had negotiated a $3 billion loan from the IMF to help
cope with a spiralling budget deficit. Egypt said in June it did
not need the money.
Radwan said the budget had been revised to cut the deficit
in response to demands for a national dialogue and concerns in
the ruling military council about building up debts. Economists
have questioned some of the budget assumptions.
An Egyptian investment banker said he had lacked authority
and the government needed to do more to outline its plans.
"The whole problem is that we're still in search of an
economic identity. So it doesn't really matter who's there, to a
certain extent, because the headlines are not there," he said.
"It's a very worrying period. I think we'll end up all
right, but after how long, and what will the ultimate bill be?"
the banker said, asking not to be identified.
Beblawi, who studied in Paris, worked as professor of
economics at the University of Alexandria until 1980. He was
then chief executive of the state Export Development Bank of
Egypt and executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and
Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
"The first thing Beblawi needs to do is to reflect some
confidence in his decisions, empowered by the legitimacy of the
military council, and he has to think a bit like investors,"
said Mohamed Seddiek, head of research at Prime Securities.
Alongside Beblawi, Sharaf appointed Ali al-Silmi of the
liberal Wafd party as deputy in charge of political development
and democratic transformation.
(Additional reporting by Dina Zayed, Shaimaa Fayed, Yasmine
Saleh, Patrick Werr and Tom Pfeiffer; Editing by Sophie Hares)