By Abdel-Rahman Hussein and Mai Shams El-Din
CAIRO: The expected reshuffle in Egypt’s interim cabinet has not yet been officially announced, but has been partially leaked by the new Deputy Prime Minister Yehia El-Gamal in a call-in to a television show.
El-Gamal confirmed that he would assume the newly created post as Deputy Prime Minister, despite widespread calls by protesters demanding that the entire government be removed, especially Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq.
El-Gamal confirmed in a call-in to Dream TV’s “Al-Ashera Masa’an” that Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmy, Manpower Minister Aisha Abdel-Hady and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Mufid Shehab were all on their way out.
There will no longer be a Minister of Information portfolio, he added, a post previously held by Anas El-Fiqi. Still in place until press time were Justice Minister Mamdouh Marei and Ahmed Aboul Gheit as Foreign Minister.
The new appointments will reportedly include political analyst with Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Amr Hamzawi as Minister of Youth, Mohamed El Sawi as Culture Minister, Hany Sarey El-Din as Trade and Industry, Tagammu Party member Gouda Abdel-Khalek as Minister of Social Solidarity, Wafdist Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour as Tourism Minister, Amr Ezzat Salama as Scientific Research Minister, Ahmed Gamaleldin Moussa as Education Minister and Georgette Qellini as minister of the newly-created Ministry of Immigration and Egyptians Abroad.
Qellini told Daily News Egypt, “I accepted my appointment because I think that most of the new appointees are honorable. Even if people think that this reshuffle was made to appease protesters, I think that these same protesters know very well that we were never used to further certain agendas for the regime.”
Yet news of the reshuffle has not appeased public demands calling for a government of technocrats not headed by Shafiq. A march may be held in Tahrir Square Tuesday to reiterate these demands.
Member of the Kefaya Movement for Change George Ishaq told Daily News Egypt that while it was important to wait for the official announcement of the reshuffle, he indicated that the reshuffle being reported was not attuned to the people’s demands.
“We want a government of technocrats, this is not becoming a revolution; this is being turned into a farce. The people’s demands during the revolution were very clear, and this is not a response to those demands. Shafiq must go and there must be a government of technocrats to run the country’s affairs [in the interim period],” he said.
Ishaq also expressed dismay that Ahmed Gamaleldin Moussa agreed to join the current cabinet, calling him a good man and that it was a “shame” that he would now be considered as part of the ailing remnants of the regime.
Qelleni attempted to counter this sentiment, saying, “If every respected person of those appointed rejected the appointment, what are we going to do? There should be a government to run the country’s affairs.”
Ten days after former president Hosni Mubarak stepped down, and the new interim power structure under the armed forces seems to be playing a game of cat and mouse with people’s demands according to political science professor at the American University in Cairo Walid Kazziha.
Kazziha told Daily News Egypt, “Every bit of reform is done to hush people. Those decisions are not taken in the context of clear direction and policymaking. Those changes are done because of pressure, not out of wise political planning.”
He added that introducing young and vibrant political actors at this critical time would burn them out, because the entire government does not enjoy public support.
Hossam El-Hamalawy, a journalist and blogger involved in the socialist movement, told Daily News Egypt, “Whether there are ‘respectable’ names or not, any cabinet formed under Ahmed Shafiq and the generals of Mubarak cannot be good in the current conditions. The regime is still there, we only got rid of Mubarak.”
While Egypt is currently under military rule, the armed forces promised that it will rule for an interim period of six months until elections take place, stressing that it will hand Egypt over to civilian rule.
“I cannot expect much positivity coming from generals who were loyal to Mubarak for 30 years,” El-Hamalawy said, “We will end up with a civilian government I think but we can end up like Turkey, which has a civilian government but if you cross the line the army steps in.”
“The military generals are part of Mubarak’s regime and I’m interested to see what their personal wealth amounts to, not just the other members of the regime. I respect all those who will go to Tahrir but for me the real battle is in the workplace. I firmly believe we should focus on supporting the [current] strikes and take Tahrir to our factories,” he added.