President Mohamed Morsy has hired his presidential team, which consists of four assistants and an advisory council of 17 people, presidential spokesperson Yasser Aly announced Monday.
Political science professor Pakinam El-Sharkawy was named assistant to the President for political affairs. Coptic thinker and former Deputy Governor of Cairo Samir Morcos is assistant for democratic transition, Salafist Nour Party Chairman Emad Abdel-Ghafour assistant for community outreach, and Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Bureau member Essam Hadad will be assistant for foreign affairs.
With the exception of Morcos, Morsy’s team of assistants is dominated by Islamist figures.
El-Sharkawy, who teaches political science at Cairo University, is not an official member of the Muslim Brotherhood but was a strong backer of Morsy during the elections. She made statements to the press saying that although she was not a Brotherhood member, she considered herself to belong to a “civilised Islamist current.”
Hadad is a member of the Guidance Bureau, the most influential body within the Muslim Brotherhood, a membership Morsy used to share before his election and resignation from the organisation, while Abdel-Ghafour is chairman of the strongest and most organised Salafist party in Egypt, which held over 25 percent of the seats in the now dissolved People’s Assembly, Parliament’s lower house.
The President had initially promised to appoint at least three Vice Presidents including a Coptic Christian, a woman and a revolutionary. However he has so far only appointed one, Mahmoud Mekki, a reformist judge who is a revolutionary with Islamist tendencies.
Morsy has also appointed an advisory board dominated by Islamists, who make up ten of the 17 members. It includes Essam El-Erian, Deputy and Acting Chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, that Morsy was chairman of before his election.
It is expected that El-Erian, who was Morsy’s deputy in the party, will assume the leadership role officially soon, having been chairman in a caretaker capacity since Morsy’s election.
Anglican Christian leader and second Deputy Chairman of the FJP Rafik Habib Samuel is also on the advisory board.
Other FJP and Brotherhood members on the board include Umayma El-Salamouny, FJP candidate for Parliament, Hussein El-Qazaz, businessman and Brotherhood advisor, and Mohey Hamed, member of the Brotherhood Guidance Bureau.
The Nour Party is represented on the board by the party’s Alexandria Secretary General, Bassam El-Zarqa, and Khaled Elm El-Din, who was nominated Minister of Environment as representation for the party in Cabinet.
Former presidential candidate, Islamist thinker and lawyer Mohamed Salim El-Awa has also joined the presidency’s advisory board, as has Secretary General of Islamic Organizations in Europe, Ayman Ali, and Islamist political analyst and thinker Seif El-Din Abdel-Fatah.
There are several media and journalism personalities on the board as well: Ayman El-Sayad, editor-in-chief of Points of View magazine; journalist and writer Sakina Fouad who is also Deputy Chairman of the secular Democratic Front Party; journalist and television show host Amr El-Leithy; and journalist and columnist Farouk Goweda.
First Assistant Minister of Interior, Major General Emad Abdallah, who is also a member of the Constituent Assembly, nationalist thinker Mohamed Esmat Seif Al-Dawla, and Ahmed Omran, advisor to former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, also made the list.