New Prime Minister of Egypt is former Water Minister, He Has A Beard

President Morsi and Newly Appointed PM Qandil

Egyptian President Morsi appointed the outgoing water minister, Hisham Mohamed Qandil aged 50, as prime minister. He has been charged with forming a new governement.

Economists were hoping for someone with more financial background given their increasing poverty. The markets have reacted negatively to the news of a bureaucrat in the role of PM.

Morsi said that Qandil is an “independent patriot” and not affiliated with any political party. While not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, it is believed that he is close to them.

Relative unknown outside of Egypt, Qandil, who has Islamist leanings, told reporters after his appointment as water minister that he had grown a beard “in line with the Sunnah,” Prophet Mohammed’s words and practices. That is the important comment in this story. He is going to be in line with the Islamists though many Islamists worry that he’s supportive of the military.

He is known as a technocrat.

Youth in Egypt, however, claim he is part of a shadow government representing the old regime and call Qandil “very felool” ( a derogatory term for remnants of the old regime).

Qandil has a PhD from the University of North Carolina in water and engineering and already held a degree in engineering from Cairo University.

He has some experience in finance as the senior manager for the African Development Bank. Morsi wants to re-establish relations with African continent and settle squabbles over Egypt’s share of the Nile water resources. They also want to lure investors from the continent.

There is a Kefaya Movement in Egypt which unites people of many diverse ideologies to further continued rebellion and it is hard to know where they fit into the evolving Egypt.

Morsi said he will appoint a woman and a Christian as deputies.

Morsi is still locked in battle with SCAF, the military arm of the government which disbanded the Islamic Parliament.

Sources: Foreign Policy, Alternet