President Mohamed Morsy will have a final shortlist of cabinet candidates by Friday, newly-appointed Prime Minister Hesham Qandil told journalists in a press conference on Thursday. Morsy is expected to swear in the cabinet on the same day.
The prime minister has been meeting with several candidates for the different ministries over the past few days, including some ministers from outgoing Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri’s cabinet.
Qandil confirmed that Minister of Scientific Research Nadia Zakhary in the El-Ganzouri cabinet would retain her post in the new one.
He also met with Tourism Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour who is also expected to continue as minister in the new cabinet.
Reports in the Egyptian press suggested that the Electricity, Agriculture, Scientific Research, and Planning and International Cooperation ministers in the El-Ganzouri cabinet would all carry on in Qandil’s.
Longtime Planning and International Cooperation Minister Fayza Abul-Naga told journalists on Thursday that she would not serve in the new cabinet, however. Abul-Naga has been Planning and International Cooperation Minister for almost 11 years, she is among only three ministers to remain in government following former President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster.
Qandil met with 11 candidates for various cabinet posts on Wednesday, some of which are members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, which President Morsy used to chair before resigning after his electoral victory.
A large number of the candidates Qandil met with were engineers or engineering professors which goes hand-in-hand with his statements that his cabinet would be technocratic in nature.
One candidate Qandil met with was Mohamed Hazem, an electronics engineering professor at Cairo University and senior FJP member, is understood to be a candidate for the post of Communications and Information Technology Minister.
Aly Fahmy, an information systems professor, is also nominated for the post. Fahmy also owns the Radio Shack chain of electronic stores.
Tarek Wafik, an urban planning professor at Cairo University is also an FJP member. He is also member of the party’s high board. Wafik is nominated to take on the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Planning.
The prime minister also met with Mostafa Mosaad, who served as a member of Morsy’s presidential campaign. Mosaad is a candidate for the Ministry of Education.
Other candidates Qandil met on Wednesday include Atef Radwan, the dean of medicine at Zagazig University, who is a candidate for Minister of Health, and Hatem Abdel-Latif, an arts professor who might take on the Ministry of Social Affairs.
Qandil also met with Mohamed Rashad, a Cairo University engineering professor who specialises in roads and bridges; Mohamed Yousry, a chemical engineering professor also at Cairo University; Wael El-Nady, an engineer; Tarek Abdel-Latif, a professor of architecture; and Essam Khalifa, a supervisor at the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Planning.
It is unknown what positions they were nominated for.
Qandil denied that any ministries would be fused or cancelled and said that in fact he was looking to add new ministries such as one specifically for utilities and another for drinking water and sanitation.
Morsy is expected to make a few appointments of his own as well.
The president had promised to form a large presidential team of vice presidents, assistants and advisors prior to his election. He promised he would appoint three vice presidents, one of which would be a woman and another would be a Coptic Christian.
Samir Morcos, a Coptic writer, said he was offered a post in the presidential team. Morcos told the state-owned daily Al-Ahram that he had met Morsy on July 10 and was offered the post of presidential assistant, a role he said he was still considering.
Morsy also met former Islamist presidential candidate Mohamed Selim Al-Awa on Tuesday in the presidential palace. Al-Awa has denied being offered the post of vice president but there were reports that he was instead offered the post of presidential advisor for transitional justice.
Other names being touted are activist and former member of the Revolutionary Socialists Wael Khalil and political science professor Pakinam El-Sharkawy.
Interim Presidential Spokesperson Yasser Aly has been now hired on full-time basis and will serve as the official presidential spokesperson.