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Middle East

Sisi remains Egypt's defence minister

New government sworn in, as a limited reshuffle keeps the ministers of interior and defence in place.

Last updated: 01 Mar 2014 17:54
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Egypt's new Cabinet has been sworn in, in a reshuffle that keeps the ministers of defence and interior in power, days after the country's interim president chose a new prime minister.

State television aired the ministers being sworn in live from the presidential palace, led by new Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab on Saturday.

The new Cabinet keeps Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as the country's defence minister.

59-year-old Sisi is widely expected to be running for president.

The country's interior minister, Mohammed Ibrahim, who oversees the country's police has faced widespread criticism of his performance in handling rising violence and for using heavy-handed tactics against dissent.

The new Cabinet is led by former Housing Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, who held a senior position in the now dissolved party of ousted Hosni Mubarak.

Mahlab will keep 20 ministers from el-Beblawi's government and appointed 11 new ones, mostly technocrats.

The surprise resignation of the Cabinet earlier this week, including then Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, comes a few months before the presidential vote.

The forthcoming presidential election is seen as a major step in a roadmap outlined by the interim military-installed authorities after Morsi's ouster.

Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected and civilian president, was removed after mass protests against his year-long rule.

On Saturday, an appeals court postponed a request by lawyers to appoint new judges in Morsi's trial to Monday, judicial sources said.

Morsi is on trial for multiple offences including breaking out of jail during the 2011 uprising against former president Hosni Mubarak and for conspiring with foreign powers and movements to destabilise Egypt.

Morsi's son detained

Also on Saturday, the youngest son of Morsi was detained by police on suspicion of drug possession, the country's official news agency reported.

The MENA news agency said police detained Abdullah Morsi, a 20-year-old university student, after a police patrol found two rolled hashish cigarettes in the car.

Egypt: Taking stock of the revolution

Police officer Hazem Saad told the agency that Morsi's son confessed to possession of the hashish.

Abdullah's older brother, Osama, rejected the accusations, calling them fabricated.

He said his brother just had been transferred to prosecutors and could not have confessed since there had not been an interrogation yet.

"This is an attempt to smear our image," Osama Morsi, a lawyer, told to The Associated Press. "Half the members of this government consume alcohol and they are now accusing Morsi's son of consuming a substance that alters consciousness."

Morsi's family so far has stayed out of legal trouble amid an intensive government crackdown on Morsi supporters and leading members of his group, the Muslim Brotherhood.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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