Egypt's new cabinet unveils   2011-07-18 05:24:45 FeedbackPrintRSS

by Li Laifang, Marwa Yehia

CAIRO, July 17 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's reshuffled government is unveiling on Sunday as some 15 ministers were appointed by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf in efforts to calm down protestors.

Sharaf has submitted the new list of ministers to the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces for approval. They will be sworn in before the council's head Hussein Tantawi on Monday.

Mohamed Kamel Amr was appointed late Sunday as the new foreign minister to replace Mohammed el-Orabi who spent less then one month in his post. Amr worked previously as an Egyptian ambassador to Saudi Arabia and then in the World Bank.

Hazem el-Beblawi, a 75-year-old renowned economist, was named finance minister and deputy prime minister for economic affairs. Beblawi has been an advisor to the Arab Monetary Fund based in Abu Dhabi since 2001.

Ali el-Selmi, a senior member of the Wafd Party, was on Saturday appointed deputy prime minister for democratic transition.

The new ministers of transport, antiquities, civil aviation, communications and IT, higher education, trade and industry, local development, agriculture and military production were also appointed.

The sweeping reshuffle is part of the latest actions aiming to meet the demands of protestors. Foreign Minister Mohamed el-Orabi, Trade and Industry Minister Samir el-Sayyad, Deputy Prime Minister Yehia el-Gamal and some other ministers had submitted their resignations ahead of the restructuring.

But the ministers of interior, justice, culture and information have so far not been included in the reshuffle.


The reshuffle has drawn mixed responses from Egyptian internet users. On the Facebook page of Sharaf, there seemed to be more remarks against the arrangements than those for.

"We want the revolution youth to take part in the new government either as deputies or ministers, we want clean people, we want a government that can respond more than the speed of the voices of the streets," said Amany Fattah.

"Egyptians desperately need a true reform," said another netizen Abd Elnaby Farag.

Many Facebook users urged the ministers of interior and justice to leave.

"How can we understand that people who stayed 20 years in the corruption farm to be appointed as our new ministers," said a comment left by Abd el-Naby Ahmed.

But some citizens showed support for the moves.

"For the prime minster, you cannot please all Egyptians, God be with you for the sake of our country," said Emad Moustafa.

Muhammed Anbr said it was a very good step to change the minister of state for local development, as this ministry is threatening the main principles of the revolution such as freedom, integrity and social justice".


Since July 8, protests have continued in Cairo's Tahrir Square and squares of Alexandria and Suez. Their basic demands included the faster and public trials of Mubarak and his aides, purging of the police officers accused of killing protestors and former regime officials from the current institutions, compensation for the dead in the mass protests which toppled Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11. The Interior Ministry announced on July 13 the dismissal of 669 police officers because of their role in cracking down the protests. Dozen of them face trials.

The ruling supreme military council decided to delay the parliamentary vote from September to October or November. On Saturday, the military said trial of civilians in military courts will be restricted to cases of rape, attack on police and armed assaults. To end the trials of civilians in military courts is one of the basic demands of activists.

There have been differences regarding the demands of youth groups and whether to continue the protests. Some youth activists in Tahrir Square insisted continuing the sit-in until all their demands are met.

Some protestors said they wanted Sharaf, the top prosecutor and justice minister to leave. Others said they should give Sharaf another chance.

Youth protestors also demanded the cancellation of the information ministry, which was recently reinstated for a temporary period.

Analysts doubt the reshuffle will appease the protestors and bring an end to the sit-ins since July 8.

The current cabinet was sworn in early March after the fall of Mubarak. Sharaf had been supported by youth groups who believed he would achieve their aspirations.

Protests have become common in Egypt since February, leaving the outside an impression of instability for the most populous Arab country. The country's tourism and investment have been hurt because of the concerns of insecurity. The economic growth faces a sharp fall.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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