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Egypt's New Prime Minister: Not What People Were Hoping For



A month after he was elected president, Mohamed Morsi has surprised many by naming Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Hesham Mohamed Qandil as prime minister. More than praise or criticism, the general reaction was “Who is he?”, reports Al-Masry Al-Youm

According to the Cairo newspaper, Qandil is an unassuming, innocuous figure, whose appointment has baffled the entire political spectrum. 

Fifty-year-old Qandil graduated from Cairo University and went on to earn a PhD from the University of North Carolina. He has held several posts and has made a name for himself as an intelligent, hardworking public official. But his appointment on Tuesday was met with more than a few objections.

“I am just bewildered that at this point in our history, Morsi chooses someone with such little experience working in government and who is unable to deal with the plethora of problems on the table already that will also be thrown at him,” Cairo University political science professor Mostafa Kamal al-Sayed told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

“Morsi followed the same criteria [as toppled President Hosni Mubarak] in choosing a low-profile prime minister who will be obedient to him,” said Basel Adel, a former MP from the Free Egyptians Party. “He will just be a secretary for Morsi.”

“Although Qandil is not an official member of the Brotherhood, he has Islamist orientations, evident from his beard,” Adel said.

Capital Economics, a London-based financial consultancy, sent a notice to its clients warning them of political instability: “The surprising appointment of [Qandil] as Egypt’s new prime minister is unlikely to calm nerves in the financial markets. For a start, he lacks the economic credentials that some were hoping for. [...[ Investors were hoping that the new [prime minister] would come from an economic background so that much-needed reforms are implemented and the economy can be put back on track.”

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