CAIRO - President Mohammed Morsi reshuffled his cabinet Tuesday, strengthening the Muslim Brotherhood's hold on power and angering the opposition amid Egypt's economic turmoil and political unrest.
The naming of nine new ministers underlines the nation's troubling schisms and the opposition's inability to stem the Brotherhood's grip on the government. Morsi ignored opposition demands for a consensus cabinet and the removal of Prime Minister Hisham Kandil.
Two of the new appointees - Amr Darrag as planning minister and Fayad Abdel Moneim as finance minister - will preside over a sagging economy and critical negotiations for a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. Both men are Islamists, which may worry investors concerned about the possibility the government may impose Islamic principles that could restrict financial markets.
In addition to Kandil, Morsi retained another key supporter, Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, who has been criticized by activists for police brutality, torture, and crackdowns on antigovernment demonstrators. The opposition accused Morsi of choosing an unimaginative cabinet that will not heal economic and political woes before parliamentary elections expected in October.
"The challenges are great and the new cabinet will not be able to deal with the situation," said Amr Moussa, an opposition leader and former presidential candidate. "Does this new lineup not reflect another step toward complete Brotherhoodization?"
It is the second government overhaul since Morsi took office in June. The reshaped government includes at least 10 ministers - up from eight - with ties to the Brotherhood or its dominant Freedom and Justice Party. The Brotherhood controls nearly one-third of the cabinet.
The makeup of the new cabinet suggests Morsi and the Brotherhood believe they can remain in control without the political consensus that the opposition and Western powers have been urging for months.