Egypt: Mohammed Mursi appoints new PM

Hesham Kandil will face the task of restoring Egypt`s socio-economic stability, hit by months of protests and uncertainty.

Updated: Jul 24, 2012, 18:45 PM IST

Cairo: Hesham Kandil, a US-educated technocrat was on Tuesday roped in by President Mohammed Mursi to be Egypt`s first post election prime minister, who will face the task of restoring the country`s socio-economic stability, hit by months of protests and uncertainty.

Kandil who was minister of water resources and irrigation, in the outgoing caretaker government, was appointed Egypt`s next prime minister and was entrusted by Mursi with the task of forming a new cabinet.

He replaces Kamal Ganzouri who headed the caretaker government that oversaw elections in Egypt. Ganzouri resigned after Mursi`s election as President.

"This appointment of a patriotic and independent figure comes after much study and discussion to choose a person able to manage the current scenario," said Mursi`s spokesman Yassir Ali.

According to his profile on Al Ahram newspaper, Kandil, who was born in 1962, has never belonged to an Islamist group though he describes himself as a religious man.

Kandil, an engineering graduate from Cairo University, received his master`s and PhD degree from Utah University in North Carolina in the US.

He joined Egypt`s National Centre for water studies and was granted the state`s honorary medal of the second degree in 1995.

He served as a senior irrigation engineer at the African Development Bank and was part of the Nile Basin Initiative launched in 1999 to develop the river in a cooperative manner.

The appointment came a month after Mursi assumed the office of President amid a growing power tussle with the ruling military.

Mursi had promised to appoint an independent figure as the prime minister, one who would gain approval of all political forces. He kept his promise by picking up an apolitical technocrat.

Mursi met Kandil at the presidential palace on Sunday but
his chances of being offered the premiership were dismissed by many observers, who said he was too young and lacking in political experience, Al Ahram said.

His designation as prime minister naturally surprised many.

As the leader of the government, Kandil will need to steer the country`s dithering economy back on track, and restore stability and confidence among people and businesses.

Kandil had earlier travelled with Mursi to the African Union summit in Ethiopia, with an aim to rekindle Cairo`s relationship with its African neighbours after years of neglect under former president Hosni Mubarak.

In the absence of a Constitution, the exact powers of the prime minister are not defined.

Kandil, who headed the bureau of the minister of irrigation between 1999 and 2005, was responsible for the affairs of the Nile waters. He also worked as a monitor in the Egyptian-Sudanese Association for Nile Waters.

Kandil, a father of five, also occupied several positions in the African Development Bank.

Ever since his election, Mursi has been walking a political tightrope, in his attempt to form a government that is "inclusive" and pleasant to all sections.

He has in talks with his presidential contenders for possible roles in the government and has said he would appoint a woman and a Christian as his deputies.