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Egypt names U.S.-educated prime minister

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 4:03 PM EDT, Tue July 24, 2012
  • Hesham Kandil becomes Egypt's youngest prime minister
  • Educated in the United States, he served as water and irrigation minister
  • Kandil will form a new government
  • Egypt's military council retains legislative powers

Cairo (CNN) -- Egypt's president tapped a young, little-known water minister Tuesday to form a new government.

At 49, Hesham Kandil becomes the youngest prime minister in Egypt's history.

"My government in the first place will be a government of technocrats," he told Egypt's state news agency after meeting with President Mohamed Morsy.

Kandil said that he will focus on implementing Morsy's program.

Educated in the United States -- he earned master's and doctoral degrees at the University of North Carolina -- Kandil joined Egypt's government after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

Three weeks after Mubarak fell, Kandil was appointed minister of irrigation and water resources under Prime Minister Essam Sharaf.

Read more: What's next for Egypt?

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Before that, he had been a water specialist with the African Development Bank and participated in the Nile Basin Initiative, according to his biography.

Morsy's appointment may disappoint business leaders who had hoped for someone with financial expertise to lead Egypt and its fragile economy. Other critics say he lacks the political experience needed for the job.

In last month's presidential election runoff, Morsy, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, edged out Ahmed Shafik -- Mubarak's last prime minister -- winning nearly 52% of the votes.

Read more: Egypt turns page to new era

Morsy resigned from the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party shortly after the results were announced in an apparent effort to send a message that he will represent all Egyptians.

He was sworn into office on June 30, but the powerful Supreme Council of the Armed Forces wields legislative power, having ordered the dissolution of parliament after the country's highest court ruled that it had been elected under invalid laws.

Morsy tried to call it back into session, but the court reaffirmed its decision, so the military council retains lawmaking powers until a new parliament is sworn in near the end of the year.

Opinion: Can we trust Egypt's new president?

CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali and journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy contributed to this report.

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