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Opinions Divided on PM-Designate Qandil

July 25th, 2012

As I noted earlier today after the announcement was made, the new Egyptian Prime Minister-designate, Hisham Qandil, is something of an unknown quantity; Water and Irrigation Minister in the Sharaf and Ganzuri governments and a governnent technocrat up until then, he’s not the superstar symbolic uniter some hoped for; rather, most people had never heard of him. Opinions are divided; many see his youth as a positive factor after years of elderly technocrats in the job; but a faceless technocrat?  And some say he’s an Islamist, though not a member of an organized party; President Morsi may have kept his word not to appoint a Muslim Brother to the Prime Ministry, but did he appoint a fellow traveler?

Since many of those expressing an opinion know little about the man (and I know less), it may take some time to judge the choice, It was not, however, a dramatic stroke that unites the country in a difficult time. The headline at Egypt Independent’s live blog, “Hesham Qandil Who?,” seems best to capture the mood.

And note this, in Ahram Online’s report:

On 15 July Kandil travelled with President Morsi to the African Union summit in Ethiopia. The trip sought to rekindle Cairo’s relationship with its African neighbours after years of neglect under former president Hosni Mubarak.

Improving Egypt’s relationship with the Nile Basin countries is one of President Morsi’s priorities, according to his presidential programme.

Egypt’s relations with the other Nile Basin countries is certainly an issue, but did Morsi’s traveling to Ethiopia with him win him the Prime Ministry?

Morsi became President 25 days ago, talking about what a US politician would call an intention to “hit the ground running.” It took nearly a month to choose a Prime Minister, and the primary response so far has been, “Who?” Perhaps he has not yet gotten his sea legs or, more likely, he finds himself caught between the generals of SCAF and the Guidance Council of he Muslim Brotherhood (his “resignation” from the Brotherhood on ascending to the Presidency is not, so far as I know, taken seriously by anyone at all).


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