Interim President Adly Mansour has appointed former Minister of Housing Ibrahim Mehleb to form a new government, which is set to focus on strengthening Egypt’s economy through achieving security and fighting terrorism.
Mehleb’s appointment was officially announced by Presidential Spokesman Ihab Badawi in a short address aired on state television Tuesday.
The new prime minister said that Mansour had asked him to form a new cabinet within three to four days.
He praised his predecessor Hazem El-Beblawi, saying he “served the Egyptian people well.” He refused to describe the recently resigned government as “a failure”.
Mehleb said he would continue with the roadmap that was set out by the armed forces following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. “Security and fighting terrorism will pave the way for economic prosperity,” he said, asserting that Egypt is still an attractive place for investment.
Speaking about his new cabinet, Mehleb said that anyone appointed would be “a fighter working around the clock”. He did not announce any names, but said that some ministerial posts would be appointed by the president, including that of the defence minister, a post currently occupied by Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi. Mehleb refused to be drawn on questions relating to Al-Sisi’s future.
Mehleb said that in the post of prime minister he would “exert all efforts to achieve the people’s aspirations”.
Mansour accepted El-Beblawi’s resignation on Tuesday, expressing his “sincere thanks and appreciation” to the former prime minister. The presidency statement pointed out that the interim government worked “under a heavy legacy accumulated over decades of economic deterioration and social marginalisation of many segments of society.”
El-Beblawi’s cabinet will continue its work until a new government is formed.
The sudden resignation of El-Beblawi’s cabinet followed weeks of speculation over a cabinet reshuffle – a move the former prime minister had said was imminent earlier in February.
The resignation has been largely welcomed in Egypt, with many interested parties acknowledging that the tenure of the former cabinet was a turbulent time for the country.
Secretary General of Salafi Al-Nour Party Galal Morra said in a statement on Tuesday, “we thank the government despite the negatives caused by it, and we excuse it given the difficult conditions experienced by the country.”
The Free Egyptians party said, “The Egyptian people are waiting for a new government to respond to priorities, to meet their aspirations, achieve their basic demands and most important; the return of security and stimulation of the economy.” The party also called for a technocratic government, a sentiment shared by the Al-Nour Party and the 6 April Youth Movement.
The 6 April Democratic Front believes the resignation came “too late”, saying it had been demanding the dismissal El-Beblawi’s government and “the appointment of another that is able to fulfil the obligations of the Egyptian people” for more than four months. In its statement, the front highlighted many points it saw as negative, including the controversial Protest Law, the continuation of Mohammed Ibrahim as Minister of Interior, and the energy crisis.