After weeks of speculation, Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi on Tuesday appointed Hisham Kandil as his new prime minister, in a move that surprised many observers.
Kandil was minister of irrigation and water resources in the interim government of Kamal El-Ganzouri.
President Morsi met Kandil at the presidential palace on Sunday but his chances of being offered the premiership were dismissed by many observers, who said he was too young and lacking in political experience.
However, the water and irrigation engineer with a PhD from the University of North Carolina, appears to fit the criteria specified by leading members of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP).
Abdallah Shehata, a senior member of the FJP, told Ahram Online last week that the new prime minister should be under 60-years-old, should believe in the Islamic project but not belong to any political group, should have experience in public administration and a solid background in economics.
Kandil, who was born in 1962, describes himself as a religious man who has never belonged to an Islamist group.
He received a BA in Engineering from Cairo University in 1984, went on to earn a masters degree in 1988 from Utah State University and a doctorate in irrigation in 1993 from North Carolina State University.
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