Top News: Egypt’s Sisi Swears in New Government, Keeps Ministers in Key Posts

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi swore in a new government Saturday, introducing sixteen new ministers, and merging several ministries. The new cabinet led by former Petroleum Minister Sherif Ismail now includes thirty-three portfolios. The ministers of foreign affairs, interior, justice, finance, investment, and defense in the outgoing government were among those maintaining their posts in the new lineup. A full list of the ministers can be found here. The ministries that merged into one are the ministries of health and population, the ministries of technical education and education, and the ministries of scientific research and higher education. Among the thirty-three ministers, three are women, including Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Waly who retained her post. Nabila Makram Ebeid is heading up a newly introduced ministry—the Ministry of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriates Affairs. Ismail said Saturday that the cabinet will seek parliamentary approval which will determine “whether or not it will be replaced.” According to a presidential statement, in his first meeting with ministers leading economic portfolios, Sisi addressed price control, investment opportunities, and exports. Outgoing Prime Minister, Ibrahim Mahlab, meanwhile, was appointed Saturday presidential aide for national and strategic projects. [Reuters, Ahram Online, 9/19/2015]


Sisi invites US congressional delegation to observe parliamentary polls
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with a US Congress delegation on Saturday in Cairo, and invited the group to monitor Egypt’s parliamentary elections, scheduled to start in October. Sisi extended the invitation to the congressmen so they could “make sure of its [the election process] fairness and transparency,” according to a presidential statement. “The president and the congressional delegation also discussed strengthening the strategic relationship between the countries,” the presidential statement added. The meeting, which was also attended by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and US Ambassador to Egypt Stephen Beecroft. The delegation, headed by the House of Representatives Majority Whip, Congressman Steve Scalise, also met with Egypt’s Military Chief of Staff Mahmoud Hegazy. Meanwhile, a State Council-affiliated committee of senior judges advocated for the unconstitutionality of the Health Ministry’s demand for fees to medically examine candidates who had already undergone tests when the application door was first opened in February. The Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) will issue its final verdict on the matter on Monday. If the SCC upholds the rejection of medical fees paid by candidates in September, it could lead to another delay in elections. A committee formed by the High Elections Committee (HEC) has also been established to provide state-owned and independently owned media outlets with guidelines and standards to follow as they cover the upcoming parliamentary elections. [Ahram Online, DNE, 9/20/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Nour Party, Egypt’s political Islam sole survivor, left with dim election hopes | Ahram Online
  • General Minister al-Assar steps into the spotlight | DNE
  • Tough job ahead for new Education Minister | DNE
  • Education minister off Facebook after viral jabs on misspelling | Egypt Independent
  • Education Ministry denies minister is on Facebook | Cairo Post
  • 48 percent of Egyptians reject religious parties in elections, says Baseera | AMAY


Nabil Sadek sworn in by Sisi as Egypt’s new prosecutor-general
Judge Nabil Ahmed Tawfiq Sadek was sworn in on Saturday by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as Egypt’s new prosecutor-general for the next four years. The new top Prosecutor, Judge Nabil Sadek, had been recently appointed in July to head of the technical office of the President of the Court of Cassation. Sadek graduated from the Police Academy in 1976 and holds a Bachelor of law. He resigned his job a few years later as a police officer, where he held the rank of captain, to pursue a career as a judge. He has served in several positions within the judiciary, including chief prosecutor for financial and business affairs, chief prosecutor of south of Cairo, and has also worked on the team of former prosecutor general Rajai al-Arabi under ousted president Hosni Mubarak.  Zakaria Osman, the Assistant Prosecutor-General, had been acting as the Egypt’s top prosecutor since the assassination of the former prosecutor-general Hisham Barakat in June. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 9/19/2015]

Egypt court rejects Mahienour El-Massry’s legal challenge, upholds sentence
An Alexandria appeals court rejected on Sunday a legal challenge presented by activist Mahienour El-Massry against her fifteen-month prison sentence. In May 2015, an Alexandria court convicted Massry, along with the journalist Youssef Shaaban and poet Loay al-Ahwagy, of storming a police station in 2013 during the tenure of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. Shaaban and Ahwagy also had their appeals rejected in the same case. [Ahram Online, DNE, AMAY, 9/20/2015]

Controversial TV host Mona Iraqi handed prison sentence
Controversial television host Mona Iraqi received a prison sentence Saturday for the filming of a citizen, without his consent, in her much criticized television program ‘Al-Mostakhabi.’ A Cairo misdemeanor court handed Iraqi a six-month sentence including labor, and fined her EGP 10,000. The case concerns a lawsuit filed by a citizen named as Ehab Abu al-Ala, who accused Iraqi of filming him without his knowledge or consent. He also accused Iraqi of insulting him using obscene words, and accusing him of fraud. Iraqi later aired those segments in her show according to state owned newspaper Al-Ahram. Iraqi admitted during the show that she had used hidden cameras during its filming, which is punishable according to Article 309 of the penal code. In December last year, Iraqi was internationally condemned for filming an anti-vice police unit as it raided a Ramses bathhouse, with the show accusing the men filmed of attending a homosexual brothel. [DNE, 9/20/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egyptian NGO seeks to revoke Norwegian correspondent’s license | DNE
  • Steel tycoon retracts request to change judges in parliament case | Aswat Masriya


Telecom Egypt appoints new chairman
Egypt’s state-owned landline telecom monopoly Telecom Egypt has appointed Waleed Gad as its new chairman, the company said in a statement on Monday. Mohamed Salem, the company’s former chairman who was appointed last May, resigned on Saturday shortly after a new government was sworn in by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. He said he had faced many obstacles in trying to improve the company’s performance. Egypt owns an 80 percent stake in the company, which faces increasing competition from rivals in the mobile sector. The company’s efforts to acquire a unified license that would allow it to enter the mobile sector have been delayed due to disagreements between the government and mobile carriers Mobinil, Etisalat, and Vodafone Egypt. Telecom Egypt, which has a 45 percent stake in Vodafone Egypt, agreed last year to pay EGP 2.5 billion for the unified license. [Reuters, 9/21/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt was largest recipient of Official Development Assistance: UN Report | DNE
  • Egypt’s Global Telecom to move headquarters to Amsterdam | Reuters
  • Investment loans for farmers register EGP 9 Billion in fiscal year 2013/2014 says CAPMAS | DNE
  • SECON launches three projects at Cityscape | DNE
  • SODIC wins thirty-two acre land plot in 6th of October City | DNE
  • Misr Italia to establish 500 acre residential project in 6th of October City | DNE
  • Prime Minister Ismail meets Investment Minister on Sharm conference agreements | SIS


Giza residents protest on Ring Road over water shortage
Residents of several Giza districts blocked the Ring Road early Monday protesting a water shortage, ignoring police requests to open the road for traffic. “Water has been cut for the whole day amid high temperatures,” said Mohamed Zaher, one of Faisal’s residents. “It is unfair to live for more than one month without a single drop of water, we only have it an hour a day.”  Traffic flow resumed normally when the protesting residents left the area following promises by authorities that the problem will be resolved soon. Members of the police force, including the head of Giza’s Traffic Department negotiated with the residents of the Giza districts of Boulaq al-Dakrour, Faisal, and Saft al-Laban. A number of Central Security Forces trucks were deployed in the area from Mariouteya to Talbeya after the protesters reportedly burnt tires. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail meanwhile ordered that that the irrigation ministry and the population ministry cooperate in order to solve the water crisis in some districts in Giza “today,” cabinet spokesperson Hossam Qaweesh said. [AMAY, Ahram Online, 9/21/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt’s new Prime Minister announces Eid Al-Adha holidays | Ahram Online
  • Minister of Interior authorizes visits for prisoners on Eid Al-Adha | DNE
  • NCW opens center for Syrian refugee rehabilitation | AMAY


Eighty-eight militants killed, 155 arrested in ongoing North Sinai operation
With Egyptian security forces continuing a major military operation in North Sinai over the weekend, eighty-eight militants were killed and 155 arrested from Friday to Sunday, according to statements by the Armed Forces Spokesperson, Brigadier-General Mohamed Samir. The operation, called Martyr’s Right, resulted in nine militants killed and eighty-eight arrested on Friday, seventy-four killed and fifty-two arrested on Saturday, and five killed and fifteen arrested on Sunday. Sunday was the fourteenth consecutive day of the operation, which focuses on the North Sinai cities of al-Arish, Sheikh Zuweid, and Rafah. Additionally, a high-ranking police officer was shot dead in the city of al-Arish on Saturday, according to the Interior Ministry. The killing was claimed by Sinai State, the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) affiliated militant group in the Sinai. [MENA, Egypt Independent, DNE, Aswat Masriya, AMAY, AP, Mada Masr, 9/21/2015]

Explosion injures two policemen near Foreign Ministry’s Mohandessin office
An explosion injured two Central Security Forces personnel near a Ministry of Foreign Affairs building on Ahmed Orabi Street in Giza’s Mohandessin neighborhood on September 20.  According to BBC Arabic, the blast also damaged several cars located near the security cordon surrounding the ministry building. The Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) affiliated militant group, ISIS Egypt, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement. ISIS Egypt has claimed responsibility for several attacks in the Cairo area, including the bombing of the Italian Consulate in July. Additionally, a bomb was safely disarmed outside the embassy of Ghana, also located in Mohandessin. [Ahram Online, DNE, AMAY, AP, Aswat Masriya, 9/20/2015]
Also of Interest

  • Twelve underground tunnels destroyed in North Sinai says Military Spokesman | DNE
  • Hamas says contacting Egypt to halt Gaza tunnel flooding | Anadolu Agency, AP


Sisi to head to New York for UN assembly
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will head to New York on September 24, leading Egypt’s delegation in the inauguration of the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, which will occur September 25-28. Sisi will deliver speeches during both the opening session and the climate summit. He also plans to convene with a number of world leaders, with the Syrian conflict, Yemen, and Libya at the top of his agenda. Additionally, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry arrived in New York on September 20, ahead of the UN meetings. He will attend a number of ministerial meetings including the Arab Foreign Ministers meeting, a high-level gathering hosted by the UN Secretary-General concerning Somalia, a ministerial meeting for the Arab/African Troika, and a coordination committee meeting for assistance to Palestinians. He will also attend an open discussion by the UN Security Council on developments related to anti-terrorism measures in the Middle East. [AMAY, Ahram Online, 9/21/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt ‘concerned’ over delay in Libyan political agreement | Ahram Online, SIS
  • Indonesia bans nationals from working in Egypt, Saudi Arabia | AMAY
  • Coptic pope to visit Ethiopia next week | Ahram Online
  • UK won’t leave Egypt to stand alone against terrorism says Ambassador | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Sisi to meet with European Council president Saturday in Cairo | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Egypt’s Sisi meets EU’s Tusk; demands Israel end violence against Al-Aqsa mosque | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Sisi reiterates support for Palestinians in wake of Jerusalem holy site violence | Ahram Online
  • Obama receives new Egyptian Ambassador to Washington | Ahram Online
  • Army not yet to blame for Mexican tourists killing says Egypt Ambassador | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt says Ambassador to Mexico meetings were ‘follow ups’ | Ahram Online
  • Tourism Minister meets with Mexican delegation | Cairo Post
  • Egypt is only country in which Syrian refugees are not suffering says Aboulatta | DNE
  • Egyptian expats in Saudi Arabia call on Immigration Minister to solve their problems | AMAY
  • Over 700 Egyptians return home from Libya via Salloum crossing within twenty-four hours | MENA
  • Egypt, UK military chiefs of Staff talk counter-terrorism efforts in Libya | Cairo Post
  • MFA issues letter to New York Times editorial board over recent editorial | MFA Facebook Page