Egypt premier unveils new cabinet

Egypt's Prime Minister Hisham Qandil has selected a new government in which the current finance and foreign ministers will retain their posts, state television reported on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a military official told AFP that army commander Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who served as Hosni Mubarak's defence minister and then ruled the country after the dictator's overthrow, will be defence minister.

Qandil was meeting with the ministers, including Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr and Finance Minister Mumtaz al-Said, a day before he was to formally unveil the cabinet, the Nile News channel reported.

The premier selected Ahmed Gamal al-Din, a former deputy interior minister, as his new interior minister, it reported.

Qandil will formally unveil the entire line-up on Thursday before President Mohamed Morsi swears in the new team, presidential spokesman Yassir Ali said.

The prime minister is scheduled to give a press conference earlier in the day.

So far, none of the ministers announced include any of the Mubarak-era hold overs who retained their posts in the outgoing cabinet.

Last week, Morsi chose Qandil, irrigation minister in the outgoing cabinet, to select a new team that would carry out an ambitious plan to quickly restore security and improve the economy.

The military, which retains legislative powers after a court disbanded the Islamist-dominated parliament in June, just before Morsi took office, retains control of the budget in line with the country's interim constitution.

It was also expected to have a say in the appointment of the foreign minister and finance minister, and it was not immediately clear what its views were on Amr and Said retaining those key posts.

Qandil had said he wanted a government of technocrats selected on the basis of their competence.

Secular allies of Morsi during the election have opposed his appointment of Qandil, also said to be an Islamist, and warned against a cabinet dominated by Islamists.

Two of the men whose appointments have been publicised -- Education Minister Mostafa Mosad and Housing Minister Tareq Wafiq -- belong to the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, a party spokesman told AFP.

The new government will take office amid a power struggle between Morsi and the military, which aside from its legislative powers has the right to veto any articles in the draft of a new constitution.

The military, which ruled Egypt between Mubarak's overthrow in February 2011 and Morsi's inauguration on June 30, will hold on to its powers until a new parliament is elected, possibly by the end of the year.

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