Profile: Egypt Prime Minister-designate Hisham Qandil
Mohammed Mursi has asked Hisham Qandil, the minister of water resources
in the current government, to become the country's youngest prime
minister since Gamal Abdul Nasser in 1954.
Mr Qandil has until now had a low profile in Egypt and is not from the Muslim Brotherhood, to which President Mursi belongs.
Following his nomination, Mr Qandil called for unity and
expressed confidence that the Egyptian people would overcome the serious
challenges they faced.
Details about Mr Qandil's early life are scarce, but he was
born in 1962 and graduated with a bachelor's degree in engineering from
the University of Cairo in 1984.
He then went on to earn a master's degree in irrigation and
drainage engineering from Utah State University in 1988 and a PhD from
North Carolina State University in 1993.
After returning to Egypt, Mr Qandil worked at the ministry of water
resources and irrigation's National Water Research Centre (NWRC).
In 1999, he was appointed office director for
the minister of water resources, for whom he worked until 2005. He was
also part of an observer mission for Egypt in talks with Sudan on Nile
Mr Qandil then appears to have moved to Tunisia to work for
the African Development Bank (AfDB), where he eventually became chief
water resources engineer.
At the bank, he worked on the Nile Basin Initiative, which
seeks to achieve sustainable development through the equitable
utilisation of water resources. He also wrote a number of papers,
including an economic policy brief on food security in Africa
In July 2011, Mr Qandil was appointed minister of water
resources in the government of Essam Sharaf, who became prime minister
shortly after President Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down by a
Mr Sharaf was himself forced to resign five months later, but
his successor, Kamal Ganzouri, asked Mr Qandil to continue as minister
in his cabinet.
In July 2012, he travelled with Mr Mursi to an African Union
summit, where the new president sought to improve ties with Egypt's
Despite this development, many observers were surprised when Mr Qandil was asked to form a new government several days later.
Prior to Tuesday's announcement, President Mursi had said he
wanted a "broad coalition" and that the prime minister would not
necessarily be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or its Freedom and
Justice Party (FJP), which dominated the now-dissolved parliament.
Mr Qandil has no known affiliation with any Islamist political
organisation, but is believed to be religious and once said he had grown
his beard as a sign of piety "in line with the Sunnah" - the Prophet
Muhammad's words and actions.
Emad Gad of the Social Democratic Party said Mr Mursi
"brought in someone who is not from the Brotherhood, but whose ideology
"The other names presented [for the position] would not have accepted the orders given to them," he told the Associated Press.
But Mr Mursi's spokesman insisted: "The appointment of a
patriotic, independent figure was studied and discussed in order to
select a person capable of managing the current situation efficiently
At a news conference, Mr Qandil said he would form a
technocratic government, stressing that "competence" would be the sole
criterion for selecting ministers.
He said he wanted "all political forces and
the people of Egypt to support us in this difficult mission", and
highlighted economic, social and environmental challenges.
"We must exert all efforts to achieve the goals of the revolution."
Mr Qandil also warned that corruption and negligence within
Egypt's vast bureaucracy would not be tolerated, saying: "We should
eliminate from our dictionary words like 'upon instructions of the
It is not clear how much power Mr Qandil will have. A decree
issued in June gave the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) all
legislative power and veto power on matters relating to national
security, while the president will have final say on key appointments
Mr Qandil is also likely to be pressed by Mr Mursi to execute
the Muslim Brotherhood's so-called "Renaissance Project", a package of
reforms which aims to overhaul the government and economy.
In addition, he will be asked to fulfil the president's
promise to tackle dozens of problems relating to security, utilities,
bread and fuel supplies, traffic, health and cleanliness within 100 days
of taking office. Twenty-five days have already been spent trying to
find a suitable prime minister.