Sunday, January 6, 2013

Egypt strengthens Islamist role in cabinet, eyes IMF deal

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt reshuffled its government on Sunday to strengthen Islamist control and pledged to complete talks with the International Monetary Fund on a $4.8 billion loan deal to stave off a currency crisis that risks igniting more unrest.

A senior IMF official is due in Cairo on Monday to meet Egyptian leaders over the deal, which was postponed last month to give Egypt more time to tackle political tensions before introducing unpopular austerity measures.

Finance minister Al-Mursi Al-Sayed Hegazy was sworn in by President Mohamed Mursi as part of a reshuffle that expanded the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood's direct control over ministries.

Mursi fired his finance and interior ministers after promising a reshuffle to assuage anger at an economic crisis which has seen the currency lose more than a tenth of its value since a 2011 uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak.

Sun Sentinel

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