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Egypt nominates new interim prime minister and deputy president

Egypt's interim president has named a new transitional prime minister. He is Hazem el Beblawi, an economist and former finance minister. Mohamed ElBaradei was proposed as deputy president.

Hazem el Beblawi, a 76 year old economist and banker has been named Egypt's interim prime minister. After the removal of the Mubarak regime, he was appointed deputy prime minister for economic affairs and finance minister in a cabinet reshuffle in July 2011.

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New Egyptian premier named

Acting head of state Adli Mansour also appointed former United Nations nuclear agency chief Mohamed El Baradei as deputy to the president, responsible for foreign affairs. El Baradei's appointment as prime minister was opposed by the hardline Islamist Nour Party.

The Nour Party said it would support Beblawi's appointment, but the head of the party added that it was still studying El Baradei's appointment.

An academic and economist, Beblawi was chairman and chief executive of the Export Development Bank in Egypt from 1983 to 1995 before working for the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia as executive secretary until 2000 and then as an advisor to the Arab Monetary Fund in Abu Dhabi from 2001 to 2011.

The interim government late on Monday issued a decree calling for a rewriting of the constitution, the holding of a referendum on that constitution within four months and, after that, parliamentary elections within six months.

The Muslim Brotherhood flatly rejected that decree and the appointments, demanding the reinstallation of ousted President Mohammed Morsi as Egypt’s democratically elected leader.

'Elephant in the room'

Meanwhile US officials expressed satisfaction with the plan, but conceded that the manner in which the handover had taken place was still a cause for concern. Acknowledging that the transfer had been a coup would mean Washington would be legally obliged under US law to suspend funding to the Egyptian military.

"There's an elephant in the room here," said White House press secretary Jay Carney, adding that it was important "to take the time necessary to evaluate the situation before making such a determination."

Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said Tuesday in a statement carried by state TV that "the future of the nation is too important and sacred for maneuvers or hindrance, whatever the justifications." It appeared to be a reference to previous blocking of nominations for the prime minister post by the Nour party.

Essam el-Erian, a senior member of the ousted Muslim Brotherhood and deputy head of its Freedom and Justice Party, rejected the transition timetable, saying it takes the country "back to zero." Further street demonstrations and protests are expected.

jm/rc (Reuters, AP)

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