Liberal economist named as Egypt's interim prime minister. Hazem el-Beblawi was finance minister in the interim government formed after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.
The appointment of el-Beblawi was also confirmed by Ahmed el-Musulamani, spokesperson for interim president Adli Mansour. Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei will be vice-president. The radical Islamist Nour Party had rejected the candidacy of ElBaradei for presidency but has accepted that of el-Beblawi. Just yesterday the Nour Party had said they were suspending participation in the transition process after condemning the killing of about 50 Muslim Brotherhood protesters in Cairo.
Earlier there were several reports that former finance minister Samir Radwan would be chosen as prime minister and that the Nour Party supported him although it was noted that the decision was not final.
No doubt Beblawi will have the support of liberal secularists and many in the west. He is a founding member of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and writes a column every week for the state-operated al-Ahram newspaper. He held positions under the Mubarak regime, being undersecretary-general to the UN between 1995 and 2000, and chair of the Export Development Bank from 1983 to 1995. Beblawi has taught at the American University of Cairo, in California and at the Sorbonne in France. He is exactly the sort of technocrat who together with ElBaradei will immediately start discussion with the IMF to finish loan negotiations to rescue Egypt's sinking economy. The austerity measures which Morsi was forced to adopt helped stir up the people against him. It will be interesting to see what the interim government of technocrats will do. There may be some combination of a stimulus together with a continuation of cuts to subsidies that will hurt many Egyptians.
Opposition leader, Mohamed ElBaradei, was named Egypt's vice-president and shortly after resigned
ElBaradei stressed just a few days ago the importance of the IMF loan, that will further turn the screws on Egyptians and please international and Gulf capital in particular. No doubt some Arab investors support the Nour party and are urging it to support the technocratic government.
In an interview with Reuters at his Cairo villa, ElBaradei said: "Success or failure is now on the altar of political consensus, because if you don't have consensus, you don't have stability. Without stability, you don't have an economy going on, and without an economy going on, you will end up with hungry, angry people.The economy is bust. All of the economic indicators. If you look at GDP, inflation, foreign reserves, current account, national debt, it's all in the red. It's a very precarious situation.Everyone is waiting now for the IMF. That is clear."
The government had been negotiating a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, before the military coup. ElBaradei will push for completion of negotiations as a first order of business. The stability that ElBaradei speaks of as necessary may be difficult to achieve.
The army crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood has led to a rejection of the army road map and participation in the transition process. The Muslim Brotherhood has rejected a decree made by the transitional prime minister, Mansour, that set a timetable for new elections and a mechanism to amend the constitution. A senior member of the Brotherhood said that the group would still push for the reinstatement of former president Morsi.
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