Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Saturday swore in a new cabinet that retained major personalities of the previous government, while adding two more pro-American business figures and installing Egypt's first minister to wear a headscarf, a sign of Islamic piety in Egypt.
The appointment of Aysha Abdel-Hadi Abdel-Ghani - a veteran trade unionist and senior member of Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party - as minister of labor was seen as a gesture to those who voted for the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood in the recent parliamentary elections. Candidates backed by the Islamist group won a fifth of the seats and increased their presence in parliament about six-fold.
Only eight new ministers joined the cabinet, which included 30 portfolios in Mubarak's eighth government during 24 years in power, MENA said.
The president's son, Gamal Mubarak, a 42-year old investment banker, moved up in the ruling party to head the powerful policy committee in 2002. He has promised political and economic reform.
He and his father have denied he is being groomed for succession, but Gamal has said he cannot stop people from nominating him for president when his father's term expires in 2011.