World Bulletin / News Desk
Egypt's armed forces chief will keep his post as defence minister in a new cabinet to be formed by President-elect Mohamed Mursi, a member of the military council said.
Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, 76, who served as defence minister for two decades under ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, will keep his post after Egypt's first Islamist president takes over, Major-General Mohamed Assar said in a rare appearance on a talk show on privately-owned CBC television on Wednesday night.
"The (new) government will have a defence minister who is head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces," he said.
Asked if this meant Tantawi would keep his defence portfolio, Assar said: "Exactly. What is wrong with that? He is the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the defence minister and the commander of the armed forces."
Tantawi effectively pushed the 84-year-old Mubarak aside on Feb. 11 last year when it became clear the security forces could not contain street protests against his 30-year rule.
The republic's past presidents, all drawn from the military, have had the title of supreme commander of the armed forces.
Yet Assar's assertion that Tantawi would remain in place even before Mursi has been sworn in on Saturday illustrates the limits the military seeks to set on his presidential authority.
The army council backed a supreme court decision on June 14 to dissolve the Islamist-dominated parliament on the grounds that rules were broken during its election six months ago.
The military council then assumed legislative powers, which Assar said it would exercise until a new assembly is elected.
In another of several actions which the Muslim Brotherhood denounced as a military coup before Mursi's election win was confirmed on Sunday, the council also named a newly created National Defence Council to run defence and foreign policies.
Although Mursi and his future prime minister will also serve on the council, they will be outnumbered by the generals in a body whose decisions will be taken by majority vote.
Assar insisted that Mursi, a 60-year-old U.S.-trained engineer, would have full presidential prerogatives, even as he set an apparent limit on his right to decide on war or peace.
"The president is the head of state with full powers. The president makes a decision to go to war in consultation with the military rulers," Assar said, adding that this was normal practice in other countries, including the United States.
Mahmoud Abbas last year reduced salaries of 60,000 Gaza-based Palestinian Authority employees
'This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history,' Trump writes in letter
'Nikki Haley, the blood is on your hands!', one student shouted during her speech at a Texas university
Israel's West Bank settlements are illegal under international law and are bitterly opposed by Palestinians.
In a joint statement, the G7 leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States, along with the European Union, said they "are united in rejecting the electoral process" that led to the May 20 ballot.
An Iraqi refugee baby died as Belgian police was chasing a vehicle carrying illegal migrants
'If it doesn’t happen, maybe it will happen later,' American president says
Haidar al-Abadi says agreement reached with winning coalition bloc
Controversial picture of Haram al-Sharif circulates on social media
International court responds to Palestinian foreign minister's request
Lava flows from Kilauea destroy warehouse at major geothermal plant while others reach Pacific Ocean
Jafar Farah was arrested in Haifa last weekend after taking part in pro-Gaza demonstration
ISIL terrorists, Iraqi forces exchange blows south of Mosul, according to local security source
Restrictions on movement of patients, medicines are 'illegal, inhumane and unacceptable': Health Ministry official
US will do anything to prevent Iran's 'malicious activities' in region, Pentagon spokesman says