Morsi sacks finance and interior ministers
Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi has sacked the finance and interior ministers ahead of a visit to Cairo by a high-ranking official of the International Monetary Fund.
The sackings were apparently supposed to cool down public discontent over the poor state of the Egyptian economy.
Masood Ahmed, Director of the IMF Middle East and Central Asia Department, is expected to arrive on Sunday to discuss IMF support to help Egypt tackle its huge budget deficit.
The IMF conditioned its loans by budget austerity cuts, which may spark a fresh wave of street protests.
Egyptian Cabinet reshuffled
In Egypt, ten new ministers, including Interior minister General Mohamed Ibrahim and Finance Minister El-Morsi Hegazy, will be sworn in today in the latest Cabinet reshuffle by President Mohamed Morsi.
Late last month Mr. Morsi ordered Prime Minister Hesham Qandil to being in new names into his government that would better meet “modern challenges.”
The new Cabinet will work until a new parliament has been formed in keeping with the outcome of the next parliamentary elections, whose date will be announced before the end of February.
General Mohamed Ibrahim will replace Ahmed Gamal El-Din as interior minister and El-Morsi Hegazy takes the finance ministry job from Mumtaz al-Saaed.
Egypt's pound, 10 percent down since the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, lost more than 3 percent against the dollar in the week ending on Thursday, hitting a record low as fears grew over its rapidly shrinking foreign currency reserves. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it is sending its Middle East and Central Asia director to discuss a postponed $4.8 billion loan agreement and "possible IMF support for Egypt" with officials on Monday.
State news agency MENA said 10 new ministers would be sworn in on Sunday for portfolios including electricity, environment, communications and transport.
According to cabinet sources, at least three of the new ministers are from Morsi's Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood group.
Egyptian opposition wants seats in parliament
An Egyptian opposition organization that calls itself “The Front of National Salvation” and unites the country’s most influential secular parties, has officially expressed its wish to take part in elections to the parliament’s lower house as a single block.
The share of each party that forms this block will be determined by its popularity and the amount of its divisions in the country. The results of this party in the previous parliamentary elections will also be taken into account.
A statement released by the Front names the most influential people in it. They are Mohamed ElBaradei, once the head of the IAEA and now the head of the “Ad-Dustur” party; Amr Moussa, once the head of the Arab Leage, who now heads the Egyptian Congress Party; and Hamdin Sabahi, the head of “People’s Movement of Egypt”. These three men will undoubtedly be included in the Salvation Front’s list of candidates to parliament.
During the last parliamentary elections in Egypt, the majority of seats were won by two Islamist parties – “The Party of Freedom and Justice”, which has been formed by the Muslim Brothers movement, and the “An Nur” party, which consists mainly of adherents of the Islamist cult “Salafia”.