Egypt's left secularists and the hard-line Salafist Nour Party have reportedly agreed to back Ziad Bahaa Eldin, a relatively unknown lawyer and economist, for interim prime minister, as the nation tries to fill the political vacuum left by ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
According to the Telegraph, presidential spokesman Ahmed al-Muslimani told private ONTV that Eldin, 48, was "very likely" to get the nomination, a claim supported by interim president Adly Mansour's spokesman, who spoke with Egyptian state media.
Steven Cook, a Middle East policy analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations, told the Wall Street Journal what he knew about Eldin:
“Ziad Bahaa Eldin is smart, honest, and is widely respected. The question is whether he has the capacity to manage the conflicting demands and pressures of Egypt’s uncertain politics,” Cook said. “He has the right profile for the moment — perhaps better than ElBaradei because he doesn’t have the baggage — but Egyptian politics are very rough.”
However, it's still unclear if Eldin will accept the position, and according to Reuters, Salafist Nour party leader Younes Makhyoun has voiced his disapproval of Eldin, saying the business lawyer was not a neutral choice.
"Both (Eldin and ElBaradei) are from the same party, the National Salvation Front, this is rejected. I fear it would be going from one exclusive approach to another," Makhyoun said.
At first, reports suggested Nobel laureate and liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei would take the position. But now it appears he could be named vice president, even though he was considered for the presidency before conservatives rejected the appointment.
The news follows a call by Hamdeen Sabahi, leader of the left-wing Popular Current party, to form a government as quickly as possible, after a clash between the military, Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and reported unidentified thugs killed dozens of people on Monday.
"We cannot leave the country without a government. He (Adly Mansour) should appoint the government today," Sabahi said, a message echoed by ElBaradei, who said Egypt was in "dire need" of reconciliation.