President Mohamed Morsi has replaced 17 of Egypt’s governors, including the choice in Luxor of a member of an Islamist party linked to a deadly attack on tourists in the ancient temple city, reports said Monday.
Among the new appointees were members of the Muslim Brotherhood from which Morsi hails, the reports said, in a move that tightens the group’s grip on key administrative and security posts.
The reshuffle — which affects all but 10 of Egypt’s 27 regions — comes less than a fortnight before opposition protests demanding the departure of the Islamist president.
In a decree issued late Sunday, Morsi said the new governors would take their oaths on Monday, the newspaper reports said.
Independent daily Al-Masri Al-Yom said seven of the new governors were Brotherhood members.
The new Luxor governor was identified as Adel al-Khayyat of the Construction and Development party, a branch of Gamaa Islamiya which was blamed for a spate of attacks in the 1990s before it renounced violence.
Gamaa Islamiya claimed responsibility for an attack on the major tourist attraction at Luxor, in southern Egypt, that killed 58 foreign holidaymakers in 1997.
Morsi also chose new governors for second city Alexandria and Port Said — a city at the northern entrance of the Suez Canal and site to sporadic unrest during the past two years.
In September last year, Morsi replaced 10 governors, appointing five Islamists in these vital positions once reserved almost exclusively for members of military or security services.
Al-Masri Al-Yom said the latest appointments were a sign of the “continued Islamisation” of state bodies, and represented a “challenge to the planned demonstration at the end of Tamarod (rebellion in Arabic) campaign”.
The Tamarod campaign organisers say they have garnered millions of signatures asking for an early presidential election in order to oust Morsi.
They also plan to hold a demonstration in front of the presidential palace on June 30 — the first anniversary of the inauguration of Morsi.