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The New Arab

Egypt's Sisi names 'Mubarak-era' ministers in cabinet reshuffle

The government shake-up has come six months after the inauguration of a new administration [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 March, 2016

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Sisi has appointed ten new ministers who are "products of the Mubarak regime", days after a minister was sacked for "blasphemous comments" and as Egypt struggles with a faltering economy.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday swore in ten new ministers made up of Mubarak-era figures, according to political analysts.

Sisi said in a statement that the new ministers should use "public funds rationally" and "fight all kinds of corruption", as he attempts to revive an economy battered by falling tourism revenues and foreign investments.

The ministers of tourism, finance, investment, justice, civil aviation, irrigation, manpower, antiquities and transportation were replaced, and a new ministry for public business sector was added to the cabinet.

"The new ministers are all students of the Mubarak regime, which robbed the banks and helped themselves to Egypt's wealth, hiding it abroad," economist Abdel Hafez al-Sawi told The New Arab.

"They all come from a savage school of capitalism that doesn't care about the poor or the development of Egypt. What they care about is making quick cash and gambling on the international market," Sawi added.

Former minister of supply Gouda Abdel Khalek said the incoming cabinet was full of political unknowns.

"I am an economist and a politician and I haven't heard of these names before. Ministers should, at least, be known in the circles they deal with every day," he told The New Arab's correspondent Ibrahim al-Taher.
The reshuffle comes as the economy continues to falter on the back of falling tourism revenues, a cornerstone of the economy, and foreign investments.
Corruption and gaffes

The government shake-up - mainly of economic portfolios - comes just six months after Sisi inaugurated a new administration led by Prime Minister Sharif Ismail, following the resignation of the previous cabinet which was hit by a corruption scandal.

Amr al-Garhy, a close associate of the son of deposed president Hosni Mubarak, has been appointed finance minister and will face the daunting task of strengthening a battered economy.

The banking veteran worked as treasurer for an NGO founded by Gamal Mubarak and was chosen deputy CEO of the National Investment Bank in 2004, despite his lack of experience in the state's financial institutions.

The reshuffle comes as the economy continues to falter on the back of falling tourism revenues, a cornerstone of the economy, and foreign investments.

Tourism, hit by years of political turmoil since the ousting of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011, was dealt a deadly blow after a bomb brought down a Russian airliner over the Sinai Peninsula in October last year.
The shake-up also comes days after Egypt's central bank devalued the Egyptian pound as it faces an acute shortage of foreign currency inflows.
Currency woes

The shake-up also comes days after Egypt's central bank devalued the Egyptian pound as it faces an acute shortage of foreign currency inflows.

The incoming Minister of Justice, Hossam Abdel Rahim, is well-known among judges for being a staunch supporter of the Sisi regime and opponent of an independent judiciary and the Muslim Brotherhood.

He has been appointed after the former minister was sacked for remarks he made about imprisoning the Prophet Muhammad on live television.

Abdel Rahim has referred hundreds of judges to court for signing statements in support of ousted president Mohammad Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, many of whom have been forced into retirement.

In 2013, he revoked hundreds of public prosecutor appointments because the new government attorney allegedly had "connections with the Muslim Brotherhood".

Abdel Rahim also came under fire last year on social media after he misquoted verses from the Quran, during Judges' Day celebrations with Sisi in attendance.

The cabinet reshuffle has not included the minister of interior, despite several recent high-profile controversies regarding police brutality.

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