Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi has named a little-known official as prime minister. The new leader is due to form a government, but it remains unclear what powers he will have under Egypt’s military control.
Morsi appointed a new prime minister on Tuesday, 25 days after the president took office. State television reported that Morsi - allied with the Muslim Brotherhood - had chosen the little-known government official Hesham Kandil, in part because he was not affiliated with a political party.
"This appointment of a patriotic and independent figure comes after much study and discussion to choose a person able to manage the current scenario," Morsi spokesman Yassir Ali told state television.
Kandil has served as Egypt's irrigation minister since last summer. The technocrat, who wears a beard, drew media speculation about his Islamist leanings when he took office a year ago. Kandil told reporters that he had grown his beard to conform with Muslim practices.
Born in 1962, Kandil worked in the fields of engineering and finance before becoming irrigation minister in July 2011. He earned an engineering degree from Cairo University and later studied at the University of North Carolina, where he received a doctorate in 1993. Kandil was previously a senior engineer at the African Development Bank.
President Morsi's announcement on Tuesday is one of the few decisions he has been able to make since taking office in late June as Egypt's first freely elected president.
Egypt's military council has headed the transitional government since former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted by a popular uprising in early 2011.
Initial reports did not indicate what powers the new prime minister would have in view in view of the military military's wide-reaching control.
kms/ncy (AFP, dapd, dpa, Reuters)