Egypt's new cabinet sworn in   2011-07-21 19:26:34 FeedbackPrintRSS

CAIRO, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's new ministers took the oath of office in front of Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, on Thursday, official MENA news agency reported.

There were 14 new members in the cabinet. Ministers of foreign affairs, finance, health, industry and trade, religious endowment, civil aviation, military production, higher education, communications, transport, agriculture, irrigation, local development and public enterprises were newly appointed.

The Antiquities Ministry was annulled in the reshuffle. The ministers of interior and justice, whom some youth groups urged to be sacked, were not changed.

In a televised speech late on Thursday, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf said: "Our first objective is to achieve the revolution's goals and preserve its gains.

He stressed the government will make it a top priority to improve security situation.

The prime minister also pledged to guarantee the minimum wages, maintain justice in the trials, achieve democratic transition and pave the way for integral and free elections. These have been among the major demands of protestors.

He added that the Supreme Justice Council approved airing of trials of ex-officials and promised to speed up pace of the trials.

According to Sharaf, the government is considering setting up an anti-corruption agency and amending an old law regarding political corruption.

After the swearing-in, Tantawi held a meeting with all the 27 old and new ministers under Prime Minister Essam Sharaf.

Tantawi asked the new cabinet to do its best to regain security and stability in Egyptian streets and confront any attempts aimed at harming the national interest.

He urged the government to work on setting an appropriate stage for elections and establishing a new constitution to fulfill the demands and goals of the "revolution", referring to the mass protests which forced former President Hosni Mubarak to resign on Feb. 11.

Legal action must be taken quickly against those who spoiled the political life during the past period, he said.

Tantawi also said strict action should be taken against all forms of corruption and urged support for judicial bodies to perform their duties.

The swearing-in ceremony was delayed for three days because of protests against some candidates and Sharaf's health condition.

The government reshuffle is the third since the fall of Mubarak, and the second since Sharaf became prime minister in March.

Despite the reshuffle, a number of political and youth groups still call for nationwide protests with various demands.

"The change with the government doesn't satisfy us, firstly because he ignores key demands, which are the dismissal of justice and interior ministers and the general prosecutor. Secondly, because he appointed new more questionable ministers, so he has done nothing," Ramy Swissy, spokesman of the April 6 youth movement, told Xinhua.

"Essam Sharaf who joined the sit-in with us in Tahrir Square during Jan. 25 revolution is no longer revolutionary, as he has become fully directed by the supreme council," 25-year-old protestor Marwa Ahmed told Xinhua.

Egypt's revolution alliance also said on Thursday it will continue the sit-ins in Tahrir Square and other squares in all Egyptian governorates until the Mubarak-era policies are changed, MENA reported.

The alliance called for purging the government from all people linked to the old regime and putting on trial all police officers involved in the killing of protesters.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces ratified Wednesday the parliament Law. Preparations for the parliamentary elections will begin in September and the vote will take place within one month.

Editor: Zhang Xiang
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