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Egypt interim leader offers Brotherhood roles

Mansour says he will appoint Muslim Brotherhood and Nour members to ministerial posts, hours after new PM named.

Last Modified: 10 Jul 2013 10:01
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Hazem el-Beblawi is the new interim prime minister [AFP]

The Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamist Nour Party will be offered ministerial positions in the transitional government, officials have said, hours after the appointment of a new prime minister.

Hazem el-Beblawi, a liberal economist and former finance minister, was named the new prime minister, the presidential spokesman, Ahmed al-Muslimani, said.

Liberal opposition chief and Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei was named vice president and will also be responsible for foreign relations, Muslimani said on Tuesday.

The appointments were followed by an announcement that ministerial posts in the new government would be offered to members of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm, and to the hardline Islamist Nour Party.

State media quoted a presidential spokesman as saying: "There is no objection at all to including members of those two parties in the government."

The administration moves come almost a week after the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and chose chief justice Adly Mansour to head the Arab world's most populous country.

Hazem el-Beblawi

Egypt’s new prime minister, Hazem el-Beblawi, is a liberal economist with a reputation as a technocrat and a history of criticising previous regimes.

Even before the revolution, he was a vocal opponent of Hosni Mubarak’s economic policies: In a 2009 debate, he spoke openly about official corruption, and faulted the government for failing to develop Egypt’s industrial base.

More recently, he has been critical of recently-deposed president Mohamed Morsi. In an interview last month with Daily News Egypt, he described Morsi’s economic programme as a failure.

“The least that can be said is that it has not been exactly successful, and it lacked clarity,” he said. “Morsi did not present a clear program. He delivered the same speeches that all politicians make about accomplishments, achievements and attracted foreign investments.”

Beblawi has taught economics at various universities, and worked for the United Nations and the Arab Development Bank.

  - Gregg Carlstrom

ElBaradei was initially tipped to lead the cabinet but his nomination was rejected by the Nour party.

Beblawi now faces the daunting task of trying to reunite a deeply divided country and rescue its battered economy.

The head of the party added that it was still studying ElBaradei's appointment.

The Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, is refusing to recognise the caretaker president or any of his decisions.

Shortly after the Islamist parties made their statements, Egypt's army chief went on state media to say that the military will not accept political "manoeuvering".

Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said that "the future of the nation is too important and sacred for maneuvers or hindrance, whatever the justifications".

The blueprint unveiled by Mansour is intended to replace the controversial Islamist-drafted constitution which he suspended following last week's coup.

A committee will be set up to make final improvements to the draft before it is put to a referendum.

Parliamentary elections will then follow within three months and Mansour will announce a date for a presidential election once the new parliament has convened.

Both Beblawi and ElBaradei are well-known on Egypt's political scene.

Beblawi, 76, studied in Cairo and Paris, where he obtained a doctorate in economics.

During his long career, he worked in public and private institutions, both at home and abroad, including as head of Egypt's Export Development Bank between 1983 and 1995.

He has also taught at several universities around the world and has written numerous books and articles on finance in Arabic, French and English.

Beblawi was appointed as deputy prime minister and finance minister in the "Revolution Cabinet" after a popular uprising saw the ouster of long-time President Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt's military council rejected the Beblawi's resignation in October of 2011, when he quit in protest over deadly clashes that left at least 26 people dead.

ElBaradei, who has the backing of the June 30 Front - an amalgam of several groups opposing Morsi - is widely respected in Egypt and has received the country's highest honour, the Nile Shas, in 2006.

The former director of the UN nuclear watchdog agency, 71, has had a long career on the international scene.

ElBaradei served as an Egyptian diplomat to the United Nations and later as an aide to Egypt's foreign minister. He was the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency for nearly 12 years. He and the IAEA shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

ElBaradei was tipped to be the new deputy prime minister last week, but Egyptian media later negated the reports.

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