Egypt's rival sides upset with new governors

Updated: 2013-08-14 10:39


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Egypt's rival sides upset with new governors

Egypt's interim President Adli Mansour (3rd L) and his ministers meet with newly-appointed governors at El-Thadiya presidential palace in Cairo in this handout picture provided by the Egyptian Presidency dated August 13, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

CAIRO - Egyptian revolutionary and Islamist groups voiced concern on Tuesday that the appointment of new governors by the interim president includes too many army and police officers, raising fears among critics that the old regime of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak is making a comeback.

The two sides are bitter rivals, but voiced similar condemnations over the appointments, which saw a total of 12 military and police officials secure posts in Egypt's 27 provinces. Many of these officials and others served in key posts during Mubarak's three decades in power.

Ten governors hail from the military, and two from the police. Two deputy governors are police generals.

Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour swore in the new governors, removing all 10 of ousted President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood appointees, though many had already left their posts to join protests in Cairo against the new military-backed government. The Brotherhood is rejecting talks with the new government, much less participation in the post-Morsi transition.

Supporters of Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected and civilian president who was overthrown by the military on July 3, say the new governorships are evidence that top security officials seek to keep power in the hands of military generals. They point to the coup against Morsi as further evidence.

Morsi was toppled after millions of Egyptians demanded he step down for what they saw as his failure to govern inclusively and manage the economy after years of autocracy and corruption under Mubarak. Many accused Morsi of acting only on behalf of his Brotherhood group.

Activist group Tamarod, which led mass demonstrations across the country against Morsi just days before the coup, said the governorship appointments do not express the goals of Egypt's 2011 revolution that toppled Mubarak. Tamarod spokesman Hassan Shaheen was quoted on the state-run Ahram news website as saying that former Mubarak-era officials should not be named to such posts because they already proved to be incompetent, corrupt and inefficient.

On the same website, the Strong Egypt Party of former Brotherhood leader Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh described the new appointments as a step toward the "militarization" of the state.

The shake-up came as supporters of Morsi reinforced their 6-week-old sit-ins in the capital and rallied for more protests across the country to demand his reinstatement.

The spokesman of the ultraconservative Islamist Watan Party, a sharp critic of Morsi's ouster, warned that the selection of governors pushes Egypt back to how it was when the country's presidents hailed from the military, including Mubarak.

"What I understood now is that liberalism in Egypt means riding a tank behind a soldier to steal the state," Yousri Hammad said in a post on Facebook. "The new governorship moves resuscitate life back to the dissolved National Democratic Party," he said, referring to the former ruling party of Mubarak.

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