Four new ministers in government reshuffle ahead of presidential elections in Egypt

Egypt’s lower house of parliament on Sunday approved an amendment proposed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, including four portfolios in Sharif Ismail’s government.

Abu Bakr al-Jundi, minister of local development, Ainas Abdel-Dayem, minister of culture, Rania al-Mashat, minister of tourism and Khalid Mohammed Ali Badawi, minister of business.

The new ministers were sworn in before Sisi after the parliament approved their appointment, the official MENA news agency reported.

In general, the Constitution gives the Head of State the right to make ministerial amendments in consultation with the Prime Minister and then submits the amendment to the House of Representatives for discussion and approval by a majority of the members present and at least one third of the members of the Council.

The soldier was head of the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) while Inas Abdel Dayem was the head of the Egyptian Opera House, the first woman to hold the post.

Rania Al Mashat has been the Under-Secretary of the Central Bank for Monetary Policy and has worked for the International Monetary Fund. Badawi worked in the banking sector.

The amendment included the appointment of a Deputy Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities and a Deputy Minister of Health and Population.

Government sources said Mustapha Medbouli, minister of housing, utilities and urban communities, would continue to serve as prime minister while Ismail was still recovering after surgery.

Local media published pictures of the acting prime minister and new ministers with Ismail on Sunday.

Ismail’s government formed in September 2015 after the resignation of the government of Ibrahim Mahlab and included 33 ministers, including 16 new ministers. This was the third amendment after an amendment in March 2016, including 10 ministerial portfolios, including finance and tourism, and an amendment in February 2017 covering investment and agriculture portfolios.

Presidential elections will be held inside the country from March 26 to 28 and if the outcome of the first round is not resolved, a return will take place between April 26 and 28.

The cabinet reshuffle rejected a bloc of 14 MPs called the 25-30 bloc, which in the past had criticized the government. “As usual, the ministerial reshuffle is totally unjustified. We do not know why some of the current ministers were retained or why the ministers who left their government seats were excluded,” said Haitham al-Hariri, one of its members.

“The amendment is important at the present time and it did not come as a coincidence, but it came on the basis of an assessment by the prime minister,” said Salah Salah, a spokesman for the council.

The amendment was approved by a majority of the deputies present.

The council now has 593 deputies for the death of a deputy, the resignation of a deputy and the imprisonment of a deputy in a criminal case.