Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi said the Israel-Palestinian peace process was a waste of time
Egypt's newly appointed Prime Minister Hesham Qandil has announced his cabinet selections, which were represented heavily by long-time state employees and former government ministers, underwhelming expectations of extensive changes in the new government as it facilitates the country's shaky transition to democracy.
Qandil, who was chosen to head the government by President Mohamed Morsi last week, has also retained seven ministers from the military council-appointed cabinet.
Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the military council, will stay on as defense minister as stipulated by terms of the council's transfer of power to the civilian government, demonstrating that it intends to maintain a strong influence in the government.
Of the 35 cabinet posts, only four are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, or FJP, which Morsi represented in the June election.
Morsi promised an inclusive government that would represent all Egyptians and not just the Islamist views of his party.
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While the moderation of FJP appointees indicates a tempering of the party's control in government, women and Christians are under-represented in the cabinet.
Only two women were selected, one of which is the only Christian appointee, even though Egypt's Christian population accounts for 10 percent of the total.
Qandil, in a press conference Thursday, called upon Egyptians to back the new government and to look beyond perceived divisions, particularly regarding religion.
"I call on all Egyptians to rally behind our elected president and to work with the government to achieve all of our goals," he said.
"We have to stop asking who is a Copt, a Muslim or a Salafi. I don't see that. All I see is that we are all Egyptians, and this should be the main principle."
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