Echoes of Past in New Egypt Government
Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi kept his post as Egyptian defence minister in a Muslim Brotherhood-led administration sworn in on Thursday by President Mohamed Mursi, confirming the military’s role at the epicentre of power.
Tantawi’s inclusion in Prime Minister Hisham Kandil’s cabinet was widely expected, but underlined the emerging power balance between a civilian president from a once banned Islamist group and the generals who removed Hosni Mubarak from power.
“Do we start from zero? For sure, no,” Kandil said during a news conference. “There has been serious and dedicated work in the past period by previous governments that we must build on.”
Besides its inclusion of Tantawi - Mubarak’s defence minister for two decades - the new administration drew heavily on senior level bureaucrats who ran government in Mubarak’s days.
Outgoing Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri was even named an advisor to Mursi.
The inclusion of at least four members of the Muslim Brotherhood represented a notable break with the past however. One was appointed as information minister, putting the group in charge of a powerful institution that oversees Egyptian state TV.
“We are confronted by a continuation of the system of government of Hosni Mubarak, with new faces from the second and third tier of the bureaucracy, and some members of the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Nabil Abdel Fattah, a political analyst. “It reflects the strength of the bureaucracy and military,” he said.