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Monday, 25 November 2019

Egypt’s cabinet shuffle expected very soon, up to 12 new ministers to be sworn in

Could we see a cabinet shuffle as soon as Wednesday? House Planning and Budgeting Committee Secretary Essam El Fekky has joined a host of other MPs suggesting that the House of Representatives may hold an extraordinary meeting as early as Wednesday to approve a cabinet shuffle. Analysts expect MPs to come back early from recess to sign off on the appointment of as many as 12 new faces around the cabinet table.

Not idle chatter? The speculation kicked off last week after the head of state the state-owned news institution Akhbar El Yom, who presents as being close to President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, suggested that change was coming.

The possibility of a shuffle featured prominently on last night’s talk shows. Al Kahera Alaan’s Lamees El Hadidi recapped the state of play and noted that long-serving Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Waly will be the first to leave cabinet after having been named the next executive director of the UNODC (watch, runime: 5:18).

Outspoken MP Moustafa Bakry told El Hadidi in a call-in that he is aware of “information” suggesting the Investment Ministry could be rolled into a Supreme Investment Council.

Bakry also suggested the House will discuss the shuffle on Wednesday, saying it is the only day of the week in which Speaker Ali Abdel Aal will be in town. The president will likely ratify the shuffle later in the same day. The shuffle will see as many as 10 new faces around the cabinet table, Bakry added, suggesting we may also see “major changes” in several state bodies, as well as “a shift in attitude.”

Lamees’ husband, El Hekaya’s Amr Adib, also spoke of the expected shuffle, saying that Egypt needs ministers skilled in the political side of the trade and who are “fully biased” toward the poor to mitigate the spillover effects of the ongoing economic reform program (watch, runtime: 15:23).

So, who’s out? There’s growing speculation that the supply, trade and industry, health, and environment ministers will be among those shown the door, and it is unclear whether the Supreme Investment Council would have a cabinet-level head or be chaired by the president or prime minister.

Rania Mashat, whose E-TRP program stands out as one of the success stories of the ongoing reform program, is widely seen as continuing in government service, but could move to the central bank or take over a new cabinet-level portfolio, press reports suggest.

Who’s getting a new seat at the table? Deputy Social Solidarity Minister Nevine El Kabbag is in the running to replace Ghada Waly as the latter leaves for her UN post, Al Shorouk reports, while SME Authority head Nevine Gamea is allegedly the frontrunner for the trade and industry minister’s job. Police Major General Rady Abdel Moaty, currently the head of the Consumer Protection Authority is reportedly a candidate for supply, while Cairo U agriculture faculty researcher Mohsen El Batran is said to be favoured for agriculture.

Planning Minister Hala El Said is also said to be in the running for additional responsibilities as she’s a candidate to add deputy prime minister to her business card.

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