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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 July, 2004, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
Mubarak swears in new government
Ahmed Nazif arrives at his office in Cairo 10 July 2004
Nazif (centre) is being hailed as Egypt's "Mr Clean"
A new Egyptian government mixing the old guard and a new generation of politicians close to President Hosni Mubarak's son has taken office.

The 34-strong team includes 14 new members, many linked to Gamal Mubarak.

Ministers swore oaths of office before meeting the president, who told them at their first session that they must improve economic conditions in Egypt.

Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif was picked to form a new government following the resignation of predecessor Atef Obeid.

President Mubarak stressed the government's goals of "improving people's daily quality of life, increasing their earnings, and improving and modernising the performances of administrative bodies", the state news agency Mena reported.

Meanwhile opposition figures said economic reforms were pointless unless the president accepted the need for political reform.

Egypt map

Correspondents say Mr Nazif, whose family name means "clean" in Arabic, has a reputation for integrity and efficiency.

He is the seventh prime minister to be appointed since Mr Mubarak took over the presidency in 1981.

Other high offices of state are taken by Ahmed Abul Gheit, the new foreign minister, and Habib al-Adli and Muhammad Hussein Tantawi, who stay on as interior and defence ministers.

The influential Gamal Mubarak still holds no official position in the government and authorities have dismissed speculation that he is being groomed to succeed his 76-year-old father.

But Mr Nazif is a notable member of the younger Mubarak's circle - as are Investment Minister Mahmoud Mohieldin and Foreign Trade and Industry Minister Rashid Muhammad Rashid.

In the last four years Egypt has seen massive rises in unemployment, declining growth and the value of the national currency nearly halved.

Opposition politicians were sceptical about the prospects for things improving without major political changes.

Rifaat Said, of the leftist Tagammu party, said the country was in a state of "political, economic and social congestion" because of the mistaken policies of the past.


SEE ALSO:
Economic reformers rise in Egypt
14 Jul 04  |  Business
Egypt's Mubarak appoints new PM
10 Jul 04  |  Middle East
Mubarak denies succession reports
01 Jan 04  |  Middle East
Country profile: Egypt
09 Jul 04  |  Country profiles
Profile: Egypt's great survivor
24 Nov 03  |  Africa


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