CAIRO – Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi will keep his post as defence minister in Egypt’s first Muslim Brotherhood-led administration, Prime Minister-designate Hisham Kandil said on Thursday, preserving a formal role in cabinet for the influential army.
Tantawi served as former president Hosni Mubarak’s defence minister for two decades until the military assumed power in February, 2011, ending a mass uprising against Mubarak’s rule.
The military formally handed power to President Mohamed Mursi at the end of June. But generals remain at the heart of power and play a role in the country’s civilian administration under a decree they issued on the eve of Mursi’s election.
Their powers include the authority to pass laws following their dissolution of the Brotherhood-led parliament.
The new cabinet – due to be sworn in on Thursday – replaces one led by Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri, a premier under Mubarak and appointed by the military council late last year.
Other incumbents who keep their jobs include Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr and Finance Minister Mumtaz al-Saeed.
Irrigation minister in Ganzouri’s government, Kandil was a little-known technocrat until Mursi chose him as prime minister.