by Xinhua Writer Tian Dongdong
BEIJING, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's interim government led by Hazem al-Beblawi tendered its resignation Monday, only weeks ahead of the turmoil-torn country's presidential election.
Given the near-certain participation of military chief and Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi in the race, the move was sudden yet unsurprising, and likely to usher in a new round of political reshuffle.
For one thing, to maintain his popularity, al-Sisi needs someone to take responsibility for the deteriorating political, economic and social situation.
Eight months after the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi, Egypt remains beset with political anarchy, economic depression and social disruption, leaving ordinary Egyptians increasingly disappointed.
The departure of the interim government provides the military and al-Sisi with a convenient outlet for the simmering disappointment, and may help reinforce their reputation as the country's savior.
Particularly, considering the wide-spread dissatisfaction with the Interior Ministry's Mubarak-style crackdown on dissent, the leaving of Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim and other controversial senior officials would take the heat off al-Sisi.
Meanwhile, now that Egypt needs to form a new cabinet, the resignation offers the Egyptian military an opportunity to reach certain arrangements with al-Sisi's possible rivals and persuade them to forgo the presidential race.
In that case, potential competitors could become allies, which could in turn expand al-Sisi's supporter base and boost his chances of getting the country's top job.
In a technical matter, the resignation could help al-Sisi remove the last impediment to his presidential candidacy, as Egyptian law currently bars military and police personnel from running for president.
All in all, the resignation and following political reshuffle have placed Egypt at a new starting point.
The way ahead for the regional heavyweight remains unclear. The only thing that seems clear is that the new president will have to build Egypt upon the mistakes of his predecessors.