Egypt’s interim president Adli Mansour named liberal economist and former
finance minister Hazem el- Beblawi as prime minister in a transitional
government, as the authorities sought to steer the country toward new
parliamentary and presidential elections.
Mansour decreed overnight that
a parliamentary vote would be held in about half a year, faster than many
expected. This would be followed by a presidential election, and an amended
constitution would be put to a referendum.
The constitutional declaration
that Mansour outlined gives the president wide-ranging authority and keeps many
articles that were in the previous constitution, approved in December 2012 and
suspended last week, according to a report in Ahram Online.
Brotherhood, aligned with ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, rejected the
plan. Senior Brotherhood figure Essam el- Erian condemned the “decree issued
after midnight, by a person appointed by the putschists, usurping the
legislative power from a council elected by the people, and bringing the country
back to stage zero.”
Beblawi won acceptance from the hard-line Islamist
Nour Party, which is being included by the military-backed interim government so
as not to totally alienate Islamists.
Writing in Asia Times
, David P.
Goldman (known as “Spengler”) asserted that the reason the Nour Party has been
cooperating with the military is that it is funded by the Saudis. When the
Brotherhood was in power, wrote Goldman, it received backing from Qatar, which
in the past year, spent a third of its foreign exchange on loans to keep the
Islamist government afloat.
Egypt’s prosecutor-general began
investigating 650 people suspected of involvement in violence that killed at
least 55 people in front of a military compound in Cairo on Monday, the state
news agency said. Soldiers shot at the crowd protesting last week’s military
overthrow of Morsi. The army claimed that some of the protesters attacked troops
at the Republican Guard compound.
Gehad el-Haddad, a spokesman for the
Brotherhood and a former adviser to Morsi, stated in The Washington Post
that “Egypt is headed back into the dark ages – to the age of [ousted leader
Hosni] Mubarak and his cronies, security forces, military henchmen and corrupt
The Islamist regime in Turkey, which condemned the coup, has
been calling for Morsi’s reinstatement.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet
Davutoglu has been calling world leaders in support of the deposed president,
according to a report Tuesday in the Hurriyet Daily News
In response to
the Turkish activism, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Turkish ambassador
over “Ankara’s interference in Egyptian domestic affairs,” stated the state news
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia approved $5 billion in aid to Egypt on
Tuesday, and the United Arab Emirates has offered $3b. in desperately needed
support for the economy.
The Saudi funds comprise a $2b. central-bank
deposit, $2b. in energy products and $1b. in cash, Saudi Finance Minister
Ibrahim al-Assaf told Reuters.
Egypt has struggled to pay for imports
since the 2011 uprising that pushed Mubarak out of the presidency, driving away
tourists and foreign investors, two of its main sources of foreign
Since then it has run through more than $20b. in reserves,
borrowed billions from abroad and delayed payments to oil companies.
UAE will make a $1b. grant to Egypt and a $2b. loan, state news
agency WAM said on Tuesday. The $2b. loan would take the form of an
interest-free deposit with Egypt’s central bank, WAM said.
stands by Egypt and its people at this stage and trusts the choices of its
people,” WAM quoted National Security Adviser Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed as saying.
“Egypt’s security and stability are the basis of Arab security.”
of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt since 2011 has unsettled most Gulf Arab
states, including the UAE, which feared it would embolden Islamists at
Hazza and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed flew to
Cairo on Tuesday morning, at the head of the most senior foreign delegation to
visit Egypt since Morsi’s overthrow.
The UAE’s $3b. was expected to be
part of a larger financial package from the Gulf emirate, the Egyptian source
Economists warn that the aid will be of only short-term value if
Egypt does not use it to overhaul its finances.
In the first five months
of 2013 alone, the deficit nearly doubled from the previous year to 113.4 b.
Egyptian pounds ($16.2b.), according to Finance Ministry figures. Annualized,
this would be about 15 percent of GDP, according to one economist.Ariel Ben Solomon contributed to this report.