The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

New governors in Egypt

Here's the lowdown from Beltone's newsletter:

President Mohamed Morsi appointed 10 new governors, four of whom are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, three retired military generals, and five academics, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.  Presidential spokesperson Yasser Ali says the decisions were based on merit, not party affiliations. Saad Al-Husseiny, 59, was appointed as governor of Kafr al-Sheikh in the Delta, a traditional stronghold for the Brotherhood, but which gave fewer votes to Morsi than expected in the presidential polls. Husseiny was the secretary of the now-dissolved People’s Assembly Budget and Planning Committee and a parliamentary spokesperson for the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party. Monufiya, the hometown of the two last presidents and a stronghold of the former regime, was given to 67-year-old Mohamed Bashir, a member of the Brotherhood Guidance Bureau. Osama Kamal, undersecretary for the Syndicate of Engineers, who won the election by running on the Brotherhood ticket, was appointed governor of Cairo. Meanwhile, the new appointments preserved the traditional practice of giving border governorates’ posts to army generals. The contentious North Sinai Governorate, which borders the Gaza Strip and Israel and home to a thriving Islamic militancy, was given to Abdel Fattah Harhour, an army general. Morsi dismissed his predecessor last month after armed assailants attacked a military checkpoint and killed 16 security officers. The Red Sea Governorate, which borders Saudi Arabia and Jordan, is now headed by General Mohamed Kamel, while Suez, home to the critical Suez Canal, is now headed by General Samir Ajlan.

What strikes me as interesting here — other than press musings about a Brotherhood takeover of governor posts were perhaps predictably overblown — is that the appointment of MB figures seems to be in part about the upcoming parliamentary elections. Kafr al-Sheikh (where the previous governor was a leftist who resigned in protest at the Morsi presidency) and Munufiya are two electoral battlegrounds in which the MB did not fare as well as it might have expected in the last parliamentary elections (and the presidential ones). And that so far there is continuity in the civilian-military split with regards to border governorates — but since these changes only affect a third of all of Egypt's governorate, there is still no clear signal that there are less military appointments. The big thing that seems missing, in fact, are police generals.