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New defense and interior ministers sworn in, as Sisi forms his new Cabinet
Sisi meets with outgoing and new ministers of interior and defense at Ettehadiya, June 14, 2018 - Courtesy: Spokesman of the Egyptian Presidency

Egypt’s Cabinet has undergone a major reshuffle, with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi appointing new ministers for his second term as president. The new Cabinet will be led by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbuly.

Most significantly, new ministers of interior and defense were sworn in on Thursday June 14, the last day of Ramadan before the Eid holiday. Magdy Abdel Ghaffar, who has served as interior minister since 2015, was replaced by Mahmoud Tawfiq, and defense minister since 2014 Sedky Sobhy was replaced with former head of the presidential guard Mohamed Zaki.

Madbuly was appointed prime minister, but he will also continue his responsibilities as housing minister, a position he has held since 2014. He was acting prime minister for a short period in 2017 when prime minister at the time, Sherif Ismail, was receiving medical treatment in Germany. As Madbuly was sworn in for a second term earlier this month, Sisi tasked him with forming the new Cabinet.

Egypt’s Constitution mandates that the president appoint a prime minister, who then presents his cabinet selection to parliament. If the prime minister fails to garner a majority vote in parliament within 30 days, the major party or coalition is responsible for nominating a new prime minister. If this candidate does not receive a majority vote, the parliament is dismantled.

The Constitution also mandates that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces should approve the appointment of the defense minister. On Thursday, Sisi met with the outgoing and newly appointed ministers of defense and interior at Ettehadiya Presidential Palace, during which he commended the collaboration between the police and military in their efforts to counter terrorism.

Newly appointed Defense Minister Mohamed Zaki served as head of the presidential guard under both deposed President Mohamed Morsi and Sisi. Zaki remained in service after the retirement age for lieutenant generals in the military was raised from 62 to 64 years in December 2017.

The new Minister of Interior Mahmoud Tawfiq has been head of the National Security Agency under the Interior Ministry since October, when his predecessor Mahmoud Shaarawy was removed following an ambush by militants in the Wahat area, during which 16 policemen were killed. Outgoing minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar’s term in office was rife with terrorist attacks on security forces and government buildings.