Egypt cabinet reshuffle by Tuesday morning: PM

CAIRO- Egypt's Prime Minister Hisham Qandil said 11 new ministers will be announced by Tuesday morning in a cabinet reshuffle that falls short of opposition demands and bolsters the ruling Islamists.
The opposition had demanded a unity government and Qandil's sacking, but a partial list of new ministers published by the official MENA agency includes at least one affiliated with President Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.

The ministries affected include oil, higher education and agriculture, the official news agency MENA reported. A replacement will be named for the justice minister, Ahmed Mekky, who resigned.
Morsi promised the reshuffle last month after months of pressure from the opposition, but the changes fall short of their demands for a complete overhaul and Qandil's dismissal.
"The reshuffle will take place today or by tomorrow morning at the latest," Qandil told state television.
MENA quoted him as saying that Morsi will swear in the new ministers on Tuesday.
The Muslim Brotherhood movement already has seven ministers, or less than a third of the cabinet. Its Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) had also called for a reshuffle to gain more seats.
According to MENA, senior FJP member Amr Darrag may become the new higher education minister.
A cabinet spokesman told AFP that Morsi had reached out to some parties to supply lists of candidates which were then referred to Qandil.
But opposition parties which had conditioned their participation on Qandil's removal were not consulted, said a senior member of the opposition Wafd party.
Morsi has repeatedly declared his confidence in Qandil, whose sacking is demanded by a coalition of opposition groups who accuse him of having mismanaged Egypt's dire economy.
The opposition has set his departure as a condition for dropping a boycott of parliamentary elections, possibly in the autumn.
The deadlock between the opposition and Morsi has delayed a much needed $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.
Qandil's government, appointed after Morsi's election in June, has tried to cope with a battered economy despite billions of dollars in aid from energy-rich Qatar and some other countries.

Tuesday, May 7th 2013

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