Egyptian protests
Egyptian protestsReuters

Hazem Beblawi, a leading liberal economist, was named Egypt’s interim prime minister on Tuesday, ending days of speculation over the choice for the position.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate and secular opposition leader who was reportedly the initial pick for prime minister, will be appointed vice president of foreign affairs.

ElBaradei’s name was removed from consideration for the prime minister post after the ultraconservative Salafist Nour Party, a key part of the coalition that ousted Morsi from power, said it would withdraw from the transition process if he were confirmed.

Beblawi served as finance minister and deputy prime minister in the transitional government that followed the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

In recent months, Beblawi was sharply critical of Morsi’s economic leadership, namely a lack of transparency and failure to stem Egypt’s rising budget deficit.

Muslim Brotherhood officials dismissed the new political appointments Tuesday as the illegitimate actions of a unelected leaders.

“It’s not our business. We have nothing to do with that,” said Hamza Zawbaa, a spokesman for the group’s Freedom and Justice party. “It’s a military coup, and we don’t negotiate with military leaders,” he said.

Leaders on Tuesday rejected a timetable issued by the military-backed interim president, Judge Adly Mahmoud Mansour, that calls for amending the constitution and holding new elections within six months.

The armed forces said in a state read on state television that they were “marching forward, in confident steps, in absolute transparency” toward a restoration of democratic rule.

Anti-Morsi groups also expressed concern about the timetable, saying it was issued without their input.