Egypt housing minister to form new cabinet

Photo: Egypt housing minister to form new cabinet / Arab World

Egyptian President Adly Mansour has asked outgoing housing minister Ibrahim Mahlab to form a new government, a day after the entire interim cabinet resigned in a surprise move, Al Arabiya reported.

Despite not giving a clear reason for the resignation on Monday, Interim Prime Minister Hazem Beblawi said in a statement that the cabinet had done its upmost to "get Egypt out of a bad phase."

"Today the cabinet took a decision to offer its resignation to the president of the republic," Beblawi in the televised statement.

"For the past six to seven months, the government assumed its responsibilities and duties... the government did not spare any efforts to get Egypt out of a bad phase," Beblawi said in reference to security and economic issues.

"This is not the time for personal interests. The nation is above everybody."

The announcement, however, paved the way for army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to announce his presidency bid. Sisi is widely tipped to win if he does run for office and he would first have to leave his post as defense minister in any case.

"This [government resignation] was done as a step that was needed ahead of Sisi's announcement that he will run for president," an Egyptian official told Reuters.

The official said that the cabinet had resigned en masse as Sisi did not want to appear to be acting alone.

The resignation also came amid several public sector strikes and an acute shortage of cooking gas.

Mahlab, a former official in deposed President Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party, is a civil engineer who formerly served as chairman and CEO of Arab Contractors Company, a large Egyptian civil engineering firm.

A profile distributed by the housing ministry said Mahlab is married and speaks English and French.

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