New Egypt Cabinet led by liberals

Associated Press
Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi, seen in poster with Arabic that reads, "yes to legitimacy," march in the Maadi district Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. Tensions in Egypt have soared since the army ousted Morsi, Hosni Mubarak's successor, in a July 3 coup following days of protests by millions of Egyptians demanding the Islamist president leave and accusing him of abusing his powers. But Morsi's supporters have fought back, staging demonstrations demanding that he be reinstated and denouncing the military coup. On Wednesday, the military raided two protest camps of Morsi's supporters in Cairo, killing hundreds of people and triggering the current wave of violence.(AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
.

View gallery

Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi, seen in poster with Arabic that reads, "yes to legitimacy," march in the Maadi district Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. Tensions in Egypt have soared since the army ousted Morsi, Hosni Mubarak's successor, in a July 3 coup following days of protests by millions of Egyptians demanding the Islamist president leave and accusing him of abusing his powers. But Morsi's supporters have fought back, staging demonstrations demanding that he be reinstated and denouncing the military coup. On Wednesday, the military raided two protest camps of Morsi's supporters in Cairo, killing hundreds of people and triggering the current wave of violence.(AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's interim leader on Tuesday swore in the first Cabinet since the military ousted the Islamist president, giving members of the country's liberal movements key positions and naming three Christians and three women, their highest numbers in an Egyptian government.

The new government is led by Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, an economist. Army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who ousted Mohammed Morsi on July 3, retains his post as defense minister and also took the position of first deputy prime minister, an additional title given to defense ministers in the past.

The Cabinet of more than 30 ministers does not include any members of Islamist parties — a sign of the deep polarization over the removal of Morsi, the country's first freely elected president. The interim president's spokesman had earlier said posts would be offered to Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, but the group promptly refused.

The Brotherhood has said it will not participate in the military-backed political process and vows to continue protests until Morsi is reinstated. The swearing in of the Cabinet took place hours after overnight clashes between police and Islamist supporters of Morsi left seven protesters dead in the worst outbreak of violence in a week.

The new government, sworn in by interim President Adly Mansour, reflects the largely liberal, secular bent of the factions who backed el-Sissi's removal of Morsi.

Women have a somewhat higher profile, with three ministries — including the powerful information and health ministries. Most past governments for decades have had at most two women in them.

The Cabinet also includes three Christians, including one of the three women, Environment Minister Laila Rashed Iskander.

The Morsi-appointed interior minister, Mohammed Ibrahim, remains in his post, in charge of the police. Nabil Fahmy, who was Egypt's ambassador to the U.S. from 1999-2008, becomes foreign minister.

In a nod to the revolutionary youth groups that engineered the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak and the massive protests that preceded Morsi's ouster, Mansour renamed the justice portfolio the transitional justice and national reconciliation ministry and gave it to Mohammed el-Mahdi, a career judge.

The groups have been campaigning for individuals responsible for the killing of hundreds of protesters since Mubarak's fall to be brought to justice. Reconciliation is a longstanding demand by most political forces to end the nation's polarization, which often spills over into street violence.

At least three senior figures from the National Salvation Front, the main opposition grouping during Morsi's year in office, were included in the government. In addition, the new deputy prime minister in charge of international cooperation, Ziad Bahaa-Eldin, is a member of the Social Democratic Party, which is part of the Salvation Front.

Mohamed ElBaradei, one of the Front's top leaders, has already been installed as Mansour's vice president.

In a first, Mansour also swore in an icon of Egyptian soccer as sports minister. Midfielder Taher Abu Zeid starred in Cairo's el-Ahly club and the national side in the 1980s. He was a member of a star-studded national squad that won the 1986 African Nations' Cup in Cairo.

The Cabinet has a total of 33 members, not including el-Beblawi.

Soon after the swearing in, carried live on state TV, the one Islamist party that supported the military's ouster of Morsi, criticized the new Cabinet for its lack of inclusion.

"This is a repeat of the same mistake the last government was blamed for, and leads to a totally biased government," the Al-Nour Party said in a statement. It said it doesn't accept "that one movement replaces another to control the government, which should be unbiased and non-partisan."

The Cabinet is to run the country as it goes through a transition plan announced last week by Mansour, which includes the formation of panels to amend the Islamist-drafted constitution that was passed under Morsi and then the holding of elections for a new parliament and president early next year.

The new leadership is driving ahead with the process despite the staunch rejection by Morsi's Islamist supporters, who are holding sit-ins in cities around the country. Morsi's supporters accuse the military of carrying out a coup that has destroyed Egypt's democracy.

Riots broke out overnight with police firing volleys of tear gas at protesters, who burned tires, threw rocks and blocked traffic flow on a main roadway running through the heart of the capital. The Brotherhood said police used birdshot and live ammunition.

At least seven people were killed and 261 injured in the clashes in four different locations in Cairo, according to Khaled el-Khateeb, the head of the Health Ministry's emergency and intensive care department. Four of the seven were killed in clashes between residents and Morsi supporters staging a sit-in near the main campus of Cairo university, according to security officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Egypt's state news agency said 17 policemen were injured and 401 people have been arrested in relation to the clashes.

The violence broke also soon after the most senior U.S. official to visit Egypt since Morsi was toppled concluded a round of talks with the country's interim leaders in which he called for the Brotherhood to be included in the political process.

Deputy Secretary of State William Burns held talks with Mansour and el-Beblawi on Monday, as well as el-Sissi. He also spoke by telephone with a representative of the Muslim Brotherhood, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters. Ventrell would not identify the Brotherhood representative or give details on the call.

_____

Associated Press reporters Sarah El Deeb and Deb Riechmann contributed to this report.

View Comments (159)

Recommended for You

  • Police officer shot after responding to wrong home

    ATLANTA (AP) — A police officer was shot and critically wounded Monday when he responded to a call of a suspicious person and showed up at the wrong house, authorities said.

    Associated Press
  • All eyes on Manchester United as deadline day dawns

    Manchester United were the centre of attention as the Premier League's transfer deadline day dawned on Tuesday, with moves involving David de Gea and Anthony Martial awaiting completion. Goalkeeper De Gea had appeared on the brink of a move to Real Madrid worth between 30 million ($33.8 million)…

    AFP
  • Woman Becoming Nun Needs Friend's Interest, Not Concern

    DEAR ABBY: I was best friends with "Joanne" after we met in middle school. She comes from a conservative Christian family and has three successful siblings. This has made her quirky, media-driven pursuits and city life a disappointment to her family. When we were teens and she learned that I was a…

    Dear Abby
  • Sheriff: Suspect kills mother, stepfather, grandmother

    Outfitted in camouflage and armed with a high-powered rifle and 100 rounds of ammunition, Robert Seth Denton fatally shot his mother, stepfather and grandmother while six children witnessed the carnage in the family's double-wide mobile home in eastern Tennessee, a sheriff said Monday.

    Associated Press
  • Video of Israeli soldier arresting boy becomes latest in war of perception

    A soldier pins a boy down and is assaulted by his family: The scene might have gone unnoticed if not for footage that has turned it into another weapon in the Israel-Palestinian war of perception. Palestinians see it as proof of Israel's abuses in the occupied West Bank, while many Israelis say the…

    AFP
  • Women are not getting treated for menopausal symptoms

    By Roxanne Nelson (Reuters Health) - Many women with severe menopausal symptoms are not being treated for them even though safe, effective remedies are available, a study from Australia suggests. The findings may be applicable to other countries, too, according to senior author Dr. Susan R. Davis…

    Reuters
  • This versatile 15-in-1 Travel Jacket is Kickstarter’s most funded piece of clothing at $7.2M

    Remember the MacGyver Travel Jacket that has 15 compartments that each have their own designated functions? It turns out that so many people loved the idea of having such a “smart” jacket that the project became the most funded piece of clothing in Kickstarter history, topping $7.2 million in…

    BGR News
  • Obama slams 'completely unacceptable' cop killing

    President Barack Obama vowed Monday to push for police officer safety after a Texas sheriff's deputy was gunned down from behind and shot multiple times at close range. Darren Goforth, 47, was killed late Friday in the Houston area, and local officials have blamed ramped-up rhetoric against police…

    AFP
  • Investigators: Arizona woman acknowledges drowning twin sons

    PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona woman told investigators that she drowned her 2-year-old twin sons and tried to kill her 3-year-old stepbrother in the same way because she didn't want them to live with the difficulties she faces.

    Associated Press
  • Daughter Deep In Debt Needs Counseling, Not More Money

    DEAR ABBY: Three years ago I gave my adult daughter, married with a child, more than $16,000 to help pay off her debts because she couldn't pay her bills. She and her husband maintain separate accounts, which I find odd. He pays certain expenses; she pays others. Now I find she's deep in debt again…

    Dear Abby
  • View

    The back alleys of one of America’s most dangerous cities (31 photos)

    High-tech policing and a renewed focus on community-officer partnerships are helping to bring calm to Camden, N.J., but it hasn’t been a cure-all. The impoverished town of 77,000 is still the most violent and crime-plagued city in the Garden State. A local policeman recently took Yahoo News…

    Yahoo News
  • Missouri man faces execution for raping, killing 15-year-old

    ST. LOUIS (AP) — An inmate scheduled to be executed Tuesday for killing a 15-year-old Missouri girl has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt his punishment, saying the death penalty is unconstitutional.

    Associated Press
  • Boko Haram killers on horseback massacre nearly 80 in NE Nigeria

    Suspected Boko Haram gunmen on horseback shot dead nearly 80 people in attacks on three villages in Nigeria's restive northeast at the weekend, a vigilante and residents told AFP on Monday. Babakura Kolo, a vigilante fighting Boko Haram, said 68 people were killed in the attack on Baanu village in…

    AFP
  • Africa's richest man, Nigeria's Dangote, plans cement plant in Zimbabwe

    Africa's richest man, Nigerian Aliko Dangote, said on Monday he would build a cement plant in Zimbabwe, a major boost for the southern African country that is desperate for foreign investment. The billionaire, whose business empire includes Dangote Cement, also told journalists after meeting…

    Reuters
  • China party says no disrespect meant with Jiang sign removal

    By Ben Blanchard BEIJING (Reuters) - The removal of a stone plinth sign written by former Chinese president Jiang Zemin at the entrance of a key Communist Party training center is not a sign of disrespect, a senior official said on Monday, after rumors of destabilizing party infighting. Jiang…

    Reuters
  • World markets drop after bleak Chinese industry report

    TOKYO (AP) — Global stock markets fell sharply Tuesday and Wall Street was set to open lower as gloomy economic data from China and Japan augured further uncertainty for investors after a brutal August.

    Associated Press
  • Japan arrests 'Flipper' trainer as dolphin hunt starts

    Japanese police said Tuesday they had arrested US animal rights activist Ric O'Barry, who trained dolphins for the TV show "Flipper", near the town of Taiji as it kicked off its controversial dolphin hunt. "We had a report that he was drinking alcohol and driving, so officers were dispatched to…

    AFP
  • CERN: Test results show more detail about 'God particle'

    GENEVA (AP) — After three years of scrutinizing the elusive Higgs boson closely, scientists say they've determined that the "God particle" behaves just as predicted.

    Associated Press