“The Muslim Brotherhood will have a significant role to play in post-Mubarak Egypt. And that is good thing.” — Reza Aslan
“Egypt’s Morsi remakes cabinet, increasing Islamist presence,” by Abigail Hauslohner for the Washington Post, January 6 (thanks to Mackie):
CAIRO “” Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi rebuilt his cabinet Sunday, replacing 10 ministers and amplifying the Islamist presence in the government. The move, in which at least three Islamists were appointed to head major economic ministries, comes a day ahead of a planned visit by a top International Monetary Fund official to discuss an impending $4.8 billion loan.
The shake-up also marked the latest in a series of appointments and forced resignations that have rattled Egypt’s government in the two years of political turmoil since a popular uprising ousted President Hosni Mubarak. Morsi, as well as the transitional leaders who ruled before his June election, have used cabinet shuffles as a means to assuage popular frustration at the slow pace of economic and political reforms.
Islamist political parties gave their support to the latest move, but some opposition members criticized it, saying it served only to further consolidate Islamist control of top government positions weeks after a conflict over the religious character of Egypt’s new constitution left the country bitterly divided.
Mohamed Adel, a leader in the April 6th youth opposition movement, said in a statement Sunday that Morsi’s administration had not consulted opposition parties on the move and that the Muslim Brotherhood would bear responsibility for any bad policies to come. Morsi is a former leader of the powerful Islamist organization….
At least three of the new ministers are long-serving members of the Muslim Brotherhood , including those heading the ministries of supply and domestic trade, and local development. The new finance minister, Al-Mursi al-Sayed Hegazy, is not a member of the Islamist organization, but local media described him as a specialist in Islamic banking who may be sympathetic to the group.
Many of the Brotherhood’s allies from the more-conservative Salafist parties have called on the government to implement a system of Islamic banking, which would ban interest on loans, as an alternative mechanism for economic reform.
Hegazy told reporters Sunday that he remained committed to discussing the IMF deal. And Brotherhood leaders fired back at accusations that the government was stacking the cabinet with Islamists.
“When a Democratic Party candidate wins in the United States, does he appoint Republicans? Would they appoint their rivals?” said Mahmoud Ghozlan, a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman. On the contrary, he said, Morsi has been far more conciliatory….