CAIRO: Transitional Egyptian President Adly Mansour, named by the Egyptian military to lead the country after it removed Mohammed Morsi from office, announced several key appointments Sunday, all of whom were members of the military or supporters of a nation guided by the armed forces.
The development raised questions about whether Mansour’s government would, as promised, represent a broad spectrum of Egypt’s political factions or become a vehicle for control by the military, which had until Morsi’s election last year led the nation either directly or through retired military officers for six decades.
Of the six appointees announced by Mansour, three were from the military. The others were known for having never spoken out against the armed forces or the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces when it was in control of the government for 18 months after the fall of Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Meanwhile, prominent supporters of Morsi remain in military custody, while members of the so-called youth movements that were instrumental in organizing the protests that led to Mubarak’s fall 2½ years ago said they have not been consulted in the formation of Mansour’s government.
There were also fresh rumors about what role Mohammed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency who leads a large political bloc that had opposed Morsi, would have in the new government. ElBaradei’s appointment as prime minister was opposed by the conservative religious Nour party; there were reports he might now be named vice president as soon as today. If that appointment takes place, he would be the first person named to the government who had openly criticized military rule.
On Sunday, for the eighth straight day, Cairo was again the scene of huge demonstrations. Tens of thousands of people rallied in Tahrir Square and in front of the Ministry of Defense in support of the military’s toppling of Morsi last Wednesday, with some chanting slogans slamming the United States for its perceived backing of Morsi. Morsi backers held large counter-protests, primarily in Cairo’s eastern Rabaa district, calling for Morsi’s reinstatement.
There were no reports of violence in Cairo, but the military and Islamists clashed again in the Sinai, near the border with Israel, and there were signs of sectarian tensions as a Muslim man killed four Coptic Christians in the southern resort town of Luxor.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday criticized the toppling of Morsi, calling the move improper in its first official reaction.
“We do not consider proper the intervention by military forces in politics to replace a democratically elected administration,” said ministry spokesman Abbas Araghchi.