Beblawi’s Cabinet convenes, approves draft laws
Former Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi

In its first meeting Sunday, the interim Cabinet approved three draft laws, the most prominent of which cancels the jail sentence for insulting the president, while keeping the fine, according to an official statement posted on its Facebook page.

The Cabinet also approved amendments to Law 96 proposed by the Journalists’ Syndicate that would allow the president to issue a decree forming a Supreme Press Council, giving it all authorities pertaining to journalism and journalists. The Council would operate in the transitional period until a new constitution is drafted and ratified.  

The final law approved by the Cabinet entails restructuring the National Human Rights Council in light of the resignation of its head, Hossam al-Gheriany, and some of its members’ “special circumstances.”

Several of the council’s members were also members of the Muslim Brotherhood appointed under deposed President Mohamed Morsi.

The draft laws were referred to the State Council, which will adjust their legal wording before referring them to the president. 

During the meeting, the Cabinet underscored its commitment to national reconciliation, while lauding the Armed Forces’ and Interior Ministry’s efforts in maintaining security, Al-Ahram reported.

The Cabinet, which was recently finalized by Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi, also called on all political forces to peacefully express their views and denounce violence.

The ministers also commended the Armed Forces’ campaign to crackdown on “terrorists” in Sinai, and applauded the Interior Ministry’s efforts to combat attempts to harm security and stability, such as blocking roads and attacking civilian and military institutions for political gain.

The Cabinet however emphasized both institutions’ role in protecting peaceful protesters, no matter what their affiliations are.

It also acknowledged the mounting economic challenges, highlighting the need for transparency in dealing with them.

Achieving social justice and easing the burden on low-income segments of society is the cornerstone of the current government’s programs, they said. The government pledged to focus on the state budget deficit, increasing resources and foreign investments.  

It said it will also focus on developing the production and distribution system for bread and get a tighter grip on petroleum distribution, preventing leaks to the black market.

Improving the educational system is also on the interim government’s agenda.

Beblawi’s Cabinet is tasked with managing the country’s new transition period following Morsi’s ouster by the Armed Forces on July 3.

The final list of ministers includes politicians and technocrats, figures from the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak alongside mostly liberal faces, and a few revolutionary figures.

The latest addition is Adel Abdel Hamid, who is taking the helm of the Justice Ministry. Abdel Hamid held the same position under the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces’ rule in 2012, when he issued a controversial decree giving military intelligence and officers the power to arrest civilians until a new constitution is in place.


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