CAIRO: Twenty newly-appointed governors will be sworn in on Saturday before the head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Mohamed Hussein Tantawy.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf removed several governors including those of Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, Qena, Suez, Menofiya, Assuit and Sharqiya in response to the demands of opposition forces and political activists.
Egypt’s governorates are now ruled by nine army officers and eight police officers in addition to civilians.
While the border governorates of South and North Sinai were assigned to army officers, upper Egyptian ones were mostly handed over to former police officers.
According to Diaa Rashwan, senior researcher at Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, such distribution was not too different from the Mubarak era.
“Yet it is too early to judge whether the new appointments will meet the people’s demands,” Rashwan told Daily News Egypt.
“What is more important now is the system by which governors will be appointed in the future…whether by nomination of more than one entity or elections,” he added.
Based on the suspended constitution of 1971, the president is the only official who has the right to appoint or sack governors.
Luxor is now ruled by a civilian governor named Khalid Fouda Seddiq.
The Suez Canal governorates of Suez, Ismalia and Port Said were assigned to army officers.
Two judges were appointed governors of Sharkiya and Menufiya.
Cairo was assigned to Abdel Qawy Khalifa, who previously held the position of chairman of the Holding Company for Water and Sewage.
Ali Abdel-Rahman, ex-president of Cairo University and a member of the National Democratic Party (NDP), is now the governor of Giza.
Beni Sueif was assigned to Maher El-Damaty, former president of Zagazig University and an NDP member.
In response, the Beni Sueif Revolution Coalition sent a letter to Sharaf objecting to the appointment of El-Damaty because he belonged to the former regime. The coalition announced that it will hold an open sit-in until a new another governor is appointed.
Essam Salem, former president of Alexandria University, has become the Alexandria governor.
Ibrahim Hammad, assistant Interior Minister for Public Relations Affairs, took office in Assuit.
Qena, where a Christian recently had his ear cut off by extremist Salafis for allegedly renting his flat out to a prostitute, got a Coptic governor, Emad Shehata Mikhael who was a police officer. Mikhael was the head of the general bureau for investigating tax evasion.
However thousands of Muslims reportedly protested Thursday and Friday against the appointment of a Christian as Qena governor. No further details were available at time of press.