Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi named outgoing irrigation minister Hisham Qandil on Tuesday as the country's new prime minister and tasked him with forming a cabinet, state television announced.


The appointment comes 25 days after Morsi was sworn in as Egypt's first civilian and freely elected head of state to replace Hosni Mubarak, who was driven from office by a popular uprising early last year.

Qandil was irrigation minister in the outgoing government of Kamal Ganzuri, whom he replaces.

"This appointment of a patriotic and independent figure comes after much study and discussion to choose a person able to manage the current scenario," said Morsi spokesman Yassir Ali.

Since Morsi was elected in June, Egypt has been embroiled in a complex power struggle between Morsi, a former senior Muslim Brotherhood official, and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which ruled the country since Mubarak stepped down in February 2011.

Just days before Morsi was elected, the SCAF disbanded parliament in response to a constitutional court ruling that it had been invalidly elected.

The origins of the battle for parliament lay in the constitutional declaration issued by the SCAF before the president was sworn in.

The declaration, which acts as a temporary constitution, granted the military sweeping powers, including legislative control, and rendered the presidential post little more than symbolic.

[Hisham Qandil image via Agence France-Presse]