A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Egypt: Still No Sign of a Prime Minister

Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi took office June 30. It's July 17. He has yet to name a Prime Minister, so the interim Cabinet of Prime Minister Kamal Ganzuri continues in place. Nor has he named any Vice Presidents, which he's now required to do under the Constitutional Declaration (to avoid the Mubarak tactic of never naming a VP); yet he has promised a Copt and a woman will be among his Vice Presidents.

The lack of a Prime Minister also means the lack of a new Cabinet, so the old Cabinet limps on, and International Cooperation Minister Fayza Abu'l-Naga, herself a Mubarak-era holdover, is now indicating that may continue for a while.

Not that there hasn't been endless speculation and lots of rumors. Many prominent names are said to have been considered, or to have turned it down. Morsi was going to name the PM on his return from Saudi Arabia, or his return from the African Summit in Ethiopia. Those came and went. Then everyone was sure he was going to name the Prime Minister yesterday. He didn't.

For a Presidency that started out with a bang, with the crisis over Parliament, it has become a singularly inactive one. Admittedly there are still a lot of constitutional cases before the courts (several were postponed again yesterday by the Administrative Court), but none seem to impose impediments to naming a Prime Minister.

It's being reported that the PM will be an economist. Given the fact that the Prime Minister's job is essentially to be Chief Technocrat, this is no news: almost all of Mubarak's Prime Ministers were economists. No big change apparent there, if the next one is as well. Giving him the power to fix the economy, on the other hand, could be significant.

Perhaps Morsi is waiting for a slow news day. It could be a while yet.

No comments: