Thursday 22 March 2018

President swears in new government

Egypt's new president has sworn in his first government
Egypt's new president has sworn in his first government

Egypt's new cabinet has been sworn in by newly-elected president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

The swearing-in ceremony took place in the capital Cairo and state television aired live footage from the event inside the presidential palace.

The government of about 30 ministers - including four women and several technocrats - is led by prime minister Ibrahim Mahlab, who also served as the interim premier for the past five months.

He was the second person to fill the post since Mr el-Sissi ousted Egypt's first freely elected president, Mohammed Morsi, last July, following massive protests against the Islamist leader and his Muslim Brotherhood. Mr Mahlab was asked by Mr el-Sissi to return to the post.

It's also the first cabinet under Mr el-Sissi, the country's former army chief and defence minister who himself was sworn in as president earlier in June, following his landslide election victory last month.

Mr el-Sissi has pledged to put security and restoring the country's battered economy at the top of his agenda. He has also vowed to build a more stable future after three turbulent years since the ouster of long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

He has also said there will be no tolerance for those who took up arms against the government and Egyptians - a thinly veiled reference to Mr Morsi's supporters.

Since Mr Morsi's removal, his supporters have held near-daily demonstrations, which have been met by a fierce crackdown by security forces that has killed hundreds and arrested thousands. Mr Morsi and many of the top Brotherhood leaders have been jailed and are on a series of trials, mostly in connection to violence associated with the protests.

For the first time the cabinet does not include the Information Ministry, the government body that for decades has overseen state media, keeping them to a close government line supporting official policies and rallying support for the leadership.

The move is in line with the newly-adopted constitution, which calls for an "independent institution" to regulate media and the press.

After Mubarak's removal in 2011, activists and free media advocates called for abolishing the ministry and state media. The transitional military council that took power initially agreed to the move, but then reinstated the ministry.

Egypt's new parliament - which is to be elected within months - has a mandate to pass legislation that will regulate the work of the new media body.

Press Association

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