Interim Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi was assembling his Cabinet yesterday to lead the country under an army-backed “road map” to restore civil rule, with peace having returned to the streets after the military removed former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi.
El-Beblawi, a 76-year-old liberal economist appointed interim prime minister last week, is tapping technocrats and liberals for a government to run the country under a temporary constitution until parliamentary elections in about six months.
Former Egyptian ambassador to the US Nabil Fahmy accepted the post of minister of foreign affairs, a sign of the importance the government places in its relationship with the superpower that provides it US$1.3 billion a year in military aid.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei was sworn in as vice president, a job he was offered two weeks ago.
Government sources have told reporters that el-Beblawi will offer the Egyptian Ministry of Finance to Hany Kadri, who oversaw Egypt’s negotiations for a rescue with the IMF, which stalled under Morsi.
Notably, Kadri is a member of the Coptic Christian minority that comprise 10 percent of the population and who have complained of being marginalized under Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi’s Cabinet had only one Christian member: the Minister of Scientific Research.
Yesterday marked a week without street violence after clashes between the Egyptian Army, Morsi supporters and opponents killed more than 90 people in the days after his overthrow.
Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, has been held incommunicado at an undisclosed location since the army removed him from power after millions took to the streets to march against him.
The authorities have not charged him with a crime, but said on Saturday they were investigating complaints against him over spying, inciting violence and wrecking the economy.
Charges of inciting violence have already been issued against many of the Brotherhood’s top figures, although in most cases police have not followed through with arrests.
The Brotherhood says the criminal charges are part of a crackdown against it and the authorities are to blame for the violence.
Thousands of Morsi’s followers have maintained a vigil in a square near a northeast Cairo mosque vowing not to leave until he is restored, a hope that now seems in vain. Tens of thousands marched on Friday, but the demonstrations ended peacefully.
“We feel in the last few days there’s more stability, more chance for an economic improvement because there hasn’t been a lot of violence,” said Ahmed Hilmi, 17, as he manned an open air stall selling juice for people to take home to break their Ramadan fasts.
The Brotherhood has called for more marches today. Morsi’s opponents have also called for demonstrations, although their protests are attracting far fewer people now that they have achieved their aim of bringing him down.
Beblawi’s challenge is setting up a government that will appear inclusive without Islamists. The Brotherhood has said it will have no dealings with a regime it says was imposed after a “fascist coup.”
The authorities have instead been courting another large Islamist group, the ultra-orthodox Nour Party, sometime Morsi allies who broke with him and accepted the army takeover.