Swearing-in of new Egyptian cabinet delayed as protests continue
Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf on Monday delayed the swearing-in of a new cabinet meant to ease popular anger over the pace of reform and trial of former officials. Sharaf had hoped the sweeping reshuffle would persuade the protesters to end a 10-day-old sit-in at Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square.
But the protesters complained that the new cabinet retains ministers they wanted fired, including Justice Minister Abdel Aziz al-Gindi.
Fourteen new ministers and a deputy premier had been expected to take their oaths office before Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who heads the ruling military, but state television reported that the ceremony had been postponed until Tuesday.
"The government of Sharaf will take the constitutional oath tomorrow (Tuesday) to allow for the completion of negotiations," state-run Nile Television reported.
The new cabinet will include former World Bank official Mohammed Kamel Amr as foreign minister and veteran economist Hazem Beblawi, who will serve as finance minister as well as deputy premier for economic affairs.
The shakeup removed the iconic antiquities minister Zahi Hawass. His announced replacement, Abdel Fatah Banna, has already come under fire from antiquities officials and Sharaf was reconsidering, Egypt's MENA news agency reported.
Thirteen ministers from the previous cabinet, appointed in March retained their posts, including Interior Minister Mansur Essawy, whose resignation the protesters had demanded.