Both Sides Dissent in Egypt New Governors Held Offices under Mubarak Regime

Article excerpt

CAIRO -- Egyptian revolutionary as well as Islamist groups voiced concern Tuesday that the the interim president's appointments of new governors include too many army and police officers, raising fears among critics that the deposed regime of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak is making a comeback.

The revolutionaries and Islamists are bitter rivals, but voiced similar condemnations of the appointments, which saw a total of 12 military and police officials secure posts in Egypt's 27 provinces. Many of these officials and others served in key posts during Mubarak's three decades in power. Ten governors hail from the military, and two from the police. Two deputy governors are police generals.

Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour swore in the new governors, removing all 10 of ousted President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood appointees, though many had already left their posts to join Cairo protests against the new military-backed government. The Brotherhood is rejecting talks with the new government, much less participation in the post-Morsi transition.

Supporters of Mr. Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected and civilian president, who was overthrown by the military July 3, say the new governorships are evidence that top security officials seek to keep power in the hands of military generals. They point to the removal of Mr. Morsi as further evidence. Mr. Morsi was toppled after millions of Egyptians demanded that he step down for what they saw as his failure to govern inclusively and manage the economy after years of autocracy and corruption under Mubarak. Many accused Mr. Morsi of acting only on behalf of his Brotherhood group.

The activist group Tamarod, which led mass demonstrations across the country against Mr. Morsi just days before his removal, said the governorship appointments do not express the goals of Egypt's 2011 revolution that toppled Mubarak. Tamarod spokesman Hassan Shaheen was quoted on the state-run Ahram news website as saying former Mubarak-era officials should not be named to such posts because they were already proven to be incompetent, corrupt and inefficient.

On the same website, the Strong Egypt Party of former Brotherhood leader Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh called the new appointments a step toward "militarization" of the state.

The shake-up came as Morsi supporters reinforced their 6-week- old sit-ins in the capital and rallied for more protests across the nation to demand his reinstatement.

The spokesman of the ultraconservative Islamist Watan Party, a sharp critic of Mr. Morsi's ouster, warned that the selection of governors pushes Egypt back to how it was when the country's presidents hailed from the military, including Mubarak.

"What I understood now is that liberalism in Egypt means riding a tank behind a soldier to steal the state," Yousri Hammad said in a Facebook post. …