World Bulletin / News Desk
Egyptian army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will keep his post as defence minister in the new government, an official source said on Wednesday, quashing speculation he was about to announce a widely expected bid for the presidency.
Sisi is tipped to win the upcoming presidential election but has yet to announce his candidacy. He must vacate the post of defence minister in order to run. The source said he would likely keep that job until an election law is finalised.
It may not take long. The draft presidential election law will be handed to interim President Adly Mansour no later than Saturday for approval, the state news agency reported, quoting a judge involved in reviewing it.
The presidential election is the next major milestone in the transition plan set in motion after the army deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi last year following mass protests against his rule.
Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi's government resigned on Monday in a surprise move that has not been clearly explained. Many of Beblawi's ministers were reappointed on Wednesday by Prime Minister-designate Ibrahim Mahlab, the outgoing housing minister who was asked on Tuesday to head the new cabinet.
Sisi, 59, is widely seen as the most powerful figure in the army-backed administration installed after Mursi's removal.
He enjoys strong support among Egyptians who were glad to see the overthrow of Mursi, who was freely elected president in 2012. But to Mursi's Islamist supporters, he is the mastermind of a coup that led to a bloody state crackdown.
"He is expected to continue in his post until all the issues regarding the election laws are resolved," the source said.
The ministers who kept their jobs in Mahlab's cabinet included Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, a leading figure in state efforts to fight militant attacks that have soared since the army deposed Mursi.Last Mod: 26 Şubat 2014, 16:56