The new Egyptian prime minister has postponed the announcement of a new cabinet until next Thursday.
Hisham Qandil has been in consultations with candidates since President Mohamed Morsi appointed him to the post of prime minister last week.
The 50-year-old former irrigation minister has stated that he will pick ministers based on their competence, and says he might include many technocrats in his government.
The new team will replace another group appointed by the generals of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which took power in February 2011, after the Egyptians launched a revolution against the pro-Israeli regime in January, which eventually brought an end to the 30-year dictatorship of former President Hosni Mubarak.
Under a constitutional declaration issued on June 17, the SCAF took control of the state budget and gave itself veto power over a new constitution, diminishing President Morsi’s powers.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, the director of Pan-African News Wire, from Detroit, to further discuss the issue. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
How do you evaluate the choice of prime minister by Mr. Morsi?
I think that he’s attempting to build a national consensus by bringing in Mr. Hisham Qandil as the premier of the new government in Egypt.
It appears as if he’s attempting to negotiate with various political forces throughout the country in regard to establishing a new cabinet. This is probably the reason why there’s been this delay until this coming Thursday to announce the new cabinet that’s going to be seated in Egypt.
Several parties have been consulted in the entire process. Some have agreed to participate. Others have declined to participate.
I think it’s designed to build some type of national broad-based government inside of Egypt because that is going to be necessary in order to tackle the myriad of problems that have been left in regards to the legacy of Hosni Mubarak over the last three and a half decades.
I think this process is somewhat a tedious process but it’s necessary in order to move forward in any type of stable governmental structure in Egypt.
Taking into consideration the fact that Mr. Qandil was in the cabinet of Mr. Ganzoori and, of course, the new prime minister says he is having consultations ahead of forming a cabinet, I'd like to know with whom he is having consultations.
In all likelihood there’s intense discussions that are going on with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces because they don’t want to create any more tension between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military apparatus in the country.
Also, the other parties, the more secular parties, parties who also may be Islamists but are not part of the Freedom and Justice Party, will of course have to undergo some consideration. Also, some of the more nationalist organizations as well who have a long tradition of politics in Egypt itself.
I would say that all of these forces would have to be consulted in the formation of this new parliament.
One of the things expected of a prime minister is that he should be able to help the economy. Does Mr. Qandil have the experience and wisdom and the competence for economics taking into consideration his activities in the Irrigation Ministry?
This is probably the reason why he was chosen. He is a US-educated technocrat. I think it’s necessary for them to be able to relate to Western economic forces that have played a very dominant role inside of Egypt over the last 30-plus years.
The economy is going to require a tremendous amount of work. First of all, the question of natural gas resources and trade with the state of Israel is going to be a very important aspect of the economic restructuring of Egypt because this has been disrupted as a result of the mass demonstrations that have taken place since last January 2011, and also sabotage of the pipelines between Egypt and Israel.
Also the tourist industry is going to take an enormous amount of work to revive tourism inside the country because this has, of course, suffered as a result of the instability that has occurred over the last 16 months inside the country as well.
Then of course, Egypt’s role with the United States is going to be of importance in regard to the extension of investments, the role of the military because that is very important in regard to US-Egyptian relation, and also the question of debt.
There’s been an enormous amount of debt that has built up in Egypt over the last several months because of the stalled economy, the problems associated with tourism, the problems associated with the natural gas industry. So there needs to be some renegotiation between Egypt’s creditors and the government itself in order to put it back on a sound footing.