Last month's elections for Egypt's Shura Council, the upper house of parliament, confirmed the overwhelming dominance of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP). The NDP won 70 of the 88 contested seats with 17 of the remaining seats going to so-called NDP independents (NDP members who decided to run independently after the party did not nominate them). Only one seat was won by an opposition party candidate, from the leftist Tagammu Party. Most opposition parties boycotted the elections because, according to a member of parliament from the Muslim Brotherhood, "it became clear after the People's Assembly elections in 2000 that the government would never allow our candidates to win." President Hosni Mubarak also appointed 44 members to the Council, including eight Copts and 12 women. NDP Secretary-General and longtime Minister of Information Safwat Al Sharif was nominated to replace Mustafa Kamal Helmi (who had held the post for 15 years) as Shura Council Chairman. Mubarak also announced a new cabinet on July 12, which includes 14 new ministers, adding a younger and technocratic element to his government. Several of the new ministers have worked closely with Gamal Mubarak in the NDP and other organizations. New Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, age 52, was credited as the previous cabinet's most successful manager; as Minister of Information Technology he partnered with Gamal's Future Foundation for Youth. Also new are Mahmoud Mohieldin, a young economist and advisor to Gamal Mubarak, who has a newly created "Investment Development" portfolio, and businessman Rashid Mohammed Rashid as Minister of Industry and Trade. Two symbols of the NDP old guard, Minister of Information Safwat Al Sharif and Minister of Agriculture Youssef Wali, lost their positions. Former Ambassador to the United Nations Ahmed Aboul Ghaith replaced Ahmed Maher (reportedly in ill health) as Minister of Foreign Affairs, and elderly Minister of Justice Farouq Seif Al Nasr (who had been in office during Mubarak's entire tenure) was relieved of his post. Many stalwarts of previous cabinets remain, including Minister of Defense Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, Minister of Interior Habib Al Adli, Minister of State for the People's Assembly Kamal Al Shazli, and Minister of Finance Youssef Boutros Ghali.