Zee Media Bureau
Cairo: Egypt’s interim president on Tuesday sworn in in the first Cabinet with his deputies two weeks after the military toppled the first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi.
Army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi remains in his post of defence minister and also have taken the post of the of first deputy prime minister. The newly formed government is led by Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi. The cabinet includes three women.
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.
Underlining the relatively liberal outlook of the new government, President Adly Mansour named three women in his Cabinet, taking the powerful ministries of information and health as well as the environment ministry. The Cabinet has 33 members, not including el-Beblawi. Most past governments for decades have had at most two women in them.
The Cabinet does not include any figures from Islamist parties. The interim president`s spokesman had said posts would be offered to Morsi`s Muslim Brotherhood.
The group refused, saying it would not participate in the military-backed political process and vowing to continue its protests demanding Morsi`s reinstatement. Morsi`s supporters accuse the military of carrying out a coup that has destroyed Egypt`s democracy.
In a first, Mansour also swore in an icon of Egyptian soccer as youth minister. Midfielder Taher Abu Zeid starred in Cairo`s el-Ahly club and the national side in the 1980s.
The swearing-in of the new government came only hours after clashes between police and Islamist supporters of Morsi left seven protesters dead in the worst outbreak of violence in a week.
The overnight riots 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.
(With agency inputs)