Controversy ensues as Mahlab opts for last-minute ‘neutral’ ministerial swap
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: The continuous back-and-forth of ministerial nominees for Mahlab’s new Cabinet formation has drawn mixed reviews, with many speculating over the decisions to appoint figures who are seen to be more neutral, while other nominees continue to recuse themselves from their positions.

After the severe criticism directed at former Minister of Health Maha Rabat over her positions towards various issues, including the recent outbreak of a new strain of swine flu and her perceived irresponsiveness to the demands of striking medical professionals, the new designate, Adel al-Adawy, promises major overhauls in the health sector.

“The development of the health sector is one of my top priorities,” Adawy told Youm7, adding that he has submitted this issue on the Prime Minister-designate Ibrahim Mahlab, in order to improve the standard of services in all hospitals of Egypt.

Nonetheless, the Doctors Without Rights movement issued a statement Friday, condemning Adawy’s appointment as new health minister, stating that he served as deputy minister in the previous ministry, exhibiting a lack of willingness to produce change.

Furthermore, the movement similarly criticized Adawy for opposing the doctors’ strikes.

Conversely, Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Universities Ashraf Hatem welcomed the decision to appoint former Dean of Engineering Wael al-Degwy as Minister of Higher Education in Mahlab’s government.

Furthermore, informed sources in the ministry stated that he choice of Degwy was based on the need to contain the anger of university students over the previous nominees (Sayed Abdel Khalek and Ashraf Mansour), as he does not belong to any political currents, and has maintained good relations with students and professors.

Previous minister Hossam Eissa faced major criticism from students over his decision to allow security forces back onto campuses.

In the meantime, the nominee for Minister of Justice, head of the Appeals Court Judge Hassan Bassiouny revealed to Youm7 that he has declined the position, refusing to comment on his reasons for declining, while the post for the Ministry of Culture has already been rejected by three different candidates.

Reporting by Hend Adel, Hend Mokhtar, Dana al-Hadidi and Ibrahim Qassem.

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