Cairo - Egypt announced a cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday that
removed two ministers closely involved in talks with the International Monetary
Fund and increased the representation of President Mohamed Mursi's Muslim
Brotherhood in government.
The opposition had been demanding the installation of a politically
neutral cabinet to oversee parliamentary elections later this year.
Prime Minister Hisham Kandil announced nine changes to his
cabinet. These included the appointment of Amr Darrag, a senior official in the
Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, as planning minister.
The outgoing minister, Ashraf al-Arabi, had played a central
role in talks with the IMF over a $4.8bn loan seen as crucial to easing a deep
economic crisis. Egypt has yet to seal a deal with the IMF.
Fayyad Abdel Moneim, a specialist in Islamic economics, was
appointed as finance minister, replacing Al-Mursi Al-Sayed Hegazy, another
expert on Islamic finance who was appointed in January, the last time Kandil
reshuffled the cabinet.
Abdel Moneim received a doctorate from Al-Azhar University
in Islamic economics in 1999.
The government has been widely criticised for failing to
revive an economy that is in deep crisis because of more than two years of
Another Brotherhood member, Yehya Hamed, was appointed investment
minister. The new cabinet includes at least 10 politicians affiliated to the
Muslim Brotherhood or the FJP, compared to eight in the old one.
Ahmed Suleiman was named as justice minister, replacing
Ahmed Mekky, who resigned last month in protest at efforts by Mursi's Islamist
allies to purge the judiciary.
The ministers of interior, defence and foreign affairs were