(AsiaNews) - "The government of newly-appointed Prime Minister Hisham Qandil
has only one Christian member, none of its members took part in the Jasmine
Revolution, and too many of them are leftovers from the old regime. The government
itself is set to last six months. Many questions are being asked about an
Islamist-led Egypt," Fr Church spokesman Rafic Greiche said. He spoke to AsiaNews about Egypt's new cabinet, the
second after the fall of Mubarak, the first of President Morsi. For the clergyman,
the jury is still out on the new government. On the positive side, it has two
women, its average age is around 45-55, it has few members from the Muslim Brotherhood
and no Salafist. On the negative side, it has not allayed concerns people have.
Qandil's cabinet took the oath of office yesterday afternoon in front of President
Mohammed Morsi. It includes 31 ministers chosen by the prime minister and
approved by the president. Four additional ministers, including the minister of
civil aviation, will be personally appointed by the president in a few days
women, Nadia Zakhary and Nagwa Khalil, are members of the cabinet. The first is
a Copt and a professor of biochemistry and tumour biology. She will be the
minister of Scientific Research, a post she occupied in the previous Ganzhouri
administration. The second held a position at the National Centre for Social
and Criminological Research and was a member of the fact-finding committee that
investigated the January 2011 uprising. She will be the minister of Insurance
and Social Affairs.
the first time, the cabinet will have only one Christian member, Fr Greiche
noted. "Since President Nasser's time, cabinets had two, sometimes even three
his appointment as prime minister, Qandil said that his cabinet would be
representative of Egyptian society, Christians included. Zachary's choice is a
way to reassure public opinion.
avoid criticism and speculation, the prime minister picked people for their
expertise, leaving out political leaders from parties that were born with the
Muslim Brotherhood has never believed in the Jasmine Revolution," the priest
said. "The exclusion of political figures that played a leading role in the
demonstrations is a sign of how false Islamist statements were. They rode the
wave of protests only to win votes and gain power. Instead of figures from secular
parties, they chose members of the old regime."
fact, some of the new ministers are cronies from old Mubarak's regime,
including General Hussein Tantawi, head the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces
(SCAF), who will remain Defence minister.
All in all, seven ministers will continue
from the outgoing military-appointed cabinet, including Mumtaz al-Said, who
will serve as Finance minister, and Mohammed Kamal Amr, who stays on as Foreign
Affairs minister. Former prime minister Kamal Ganzouri becomes a presidential
choice of non-aligned technocrats has reduced the role of Islamists and kept
Salafists out altogether. Only four are members of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom
and Justice Party (FJP) have received a cabinet post. The FJP, which is the
president's party, won the recent parliamentary elections. The parliament itself
was dissolved in June.
the controversy over the possible appointment of a minister from its ranks, the
Salafist al-Nour party quit the government, casting doubts about the links
between the Muslim Brotherhood and its former "allies".
Salafists could join the government when a new parliament will be elected in
February, Fr Greiche noted. Excluding them now could be a way not to scare Egyptians
and especially the international community.
is more, the Salafist view of Islam differs from that of the Muslim
Brotherhood. By excluding them, the difference is made that more visible, and
could become even more so in the future.
Egypt, everybody is aware that the 2011 election alliances were only a solution
to gain votes," he added.
the spokesman of the Egyptian Catholic Church, now the question is what the new
government will do.
these six months, we shall see whether the new government intends to change the
country. What choices will the new ministers make? Will be they the expression
of Morsi's much vaunted pluralism or will they embody the will of the Muslim