Egypt's Mursi tightens Islamist grip with governor appointments

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 16, 2013 6:11 PM

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi named a member of an Islamist group remembered for a bloody attack on Western tourists in the ancient city of Luxor over a decade ago as governor of that province on Sunday.

It was one of 17 gubernatorial appointments that put Islamist allies in key positions across the country as Mursi braces for protests on the first anniversary of his inauguration at the end of the month.

Seven of the new governors listed by the state news agency are members of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, which backed Mursi in elections that followed the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, propelling him to power last year.

The newly appointed Luxor governor, Adel Mohamed al-Khayat, is a member of the Building and Development party. The party was established by Al Gamaa al-Islamiya, an Islamist group that was involved in attacks in Luxor that killed around 60 tourists in the late 90s, but later renounced violence.

In addition to the Islamists appointed, security officials were named as governors of the Suez and Red Sea provinces and near sensitive border areas.

Egypt has 27 governorates in all. Under Mubarak, top security officials held most of the posts.

Political analyst Hassan Nafaa said the appointments meant that "gradually, the Freedom and Justice Party wants to dominate the hinges of the country".

(Reporting by Ali Abdelaty and Asma Alsharif; Editing by Kevin Liffey)