CAIRO – Egypt's new interim Cabinet brings in a number of prominent figures from the country's liberal and secular factions into top positions, particularly from the National Salvation Front, the main coalition of opponents to ousted President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood. It has three women, one of them a Christian, and two other Christians, more than any previous government.
The government, comprising 33 ministers and the prime minister, also includes several members rooted in the military or police, as well as 10 figures who were ministers under Morsi. None of the ministers come from Islamist parties. The Muslim Brotherhood and its allies refuse any cooperation with the new leadership, demanding Morsi be reinstated.
Below is a look at some of the key figures in the interim Cabinet:
— Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi: A prominent economist, he served as finance minister and a deputy prime minister in one of the first cabinets formed after the 2011 uprising forced Hosni Mubarak from power and the military stepped in to rule. He resigned in protest three months later after 26 demonstrators, mostly Christians, were killed by troops and security forces in a crackdown on their march. He is a founder of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, part of the National Salvation Front.
— Defense Minister and First Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi: He was appointed head of the armed forces and defense minister by Morsi in August when the president sidelined Mubarak's longtime minister Field Marshall Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, who headed the council of generals that ruled Egypt after Mubarak's fall. El-Sissi stepped onto the political center stage when the military gave Morsi an ultimatum to find a solution when millions took to the streets on June 30 demanding the president leave power. After four days of protests, el-Sissi announced Morsi's removal on July 3.
— Second Deputy Prime Minister and International Cooperation Minister Ziad Bahaa-Eldin: A member of the Social Democratic Party, he has held a number of positions in the Egyptian Central Bank, other state banks and state investment authorities, and heading a financial oversight body. Under his purview as minister is the overseeing of foreign financing of non-governmental organizations.
— Interior Minister Maj. Gen. Mohammed Ibrahim: A holdover from Morsi's last government, he was appointed to the post, heading the security forces, in December. Morsi removed his predecessor, allegedly because he would not crack down on protesters. Ibrahim earned the opposition's ire when more than a dozen protesters were killed by security forces in Port Said early this year, and some police went on strike demanding his removal, saying he was doing the Brotherhood's bidding.
— Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy: A career diplomat, he was Egypt's ambassador to the United States from 1999 to 2008. Prior to that he served as ambassador to Japan. He was most recently the dean of the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the American University in Cairo. As a diplomat, Fahmy played a role in Middle East peace talks.
— Finance Minister Ahmed Galal: An economist, Galal is a U.S.-educated World Bank veteran who was also director of the Egyptian Center for Economic Studies, an independent think tank. He has written extensively on fiscal, trade and monetary policy.
— Labor Minister Kamal Abu Eita: An iconic labor activist who helped lead the formation of the first independent trade unions in 2009, breaking the hold of state-approved unions that were largely an instrument of Mubarak's control. He helped rally labor strikes that fueled the 2011 uprising against Mubarak, then backed protests against Morsi.
The Cabinet includes a number of Christians and women:
— Scientific Research Minister Ramzi George
— Industry Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour: A businessman who served as tourism minister in the first Cabinets after Mubarak's fall, he is a member of Egypt's oldest opposition Wafd Party and a senior leader in the National Salvation Front.
— Environment Minister Laila Iskander: A Christian and the second woman to lead the ministry. She is a waste management expert who has worked on dealing with Egypt's daunting garbage problem.
— Information Minister Dorreya Sharaf el-Din: The first woman to take this powerful post directing influential state-run TV and newspapers. Originally a film critic with a popular show on state TV, she later directed the censorship office under Mubarak. She was a member of the policies committee and the women's committee of Mubarak's now-dissolved National Democratic Party. More recently, she hosted a show on a private Egyptian station.
— Health Minister Maha el-Rabat: First female candidate to take this post
— Along with Abdel-Nour, there are two other Cabinet members from the National Salvation Front: Social Solidarity Minister Ahmed al-Boraei and Deputy Prime Minister and Higher Education Minister Hossam Eissa, a co-founder of the Dustour Party, once led by Mohamed ElBaradei, now vice president.