Egypt cabinet to be sworn in after delays

By benim
In Egypt
Jul 21st, 2011

Egypt’s new cabinet, aimed at mollifying protesters demanding quick reforms, was expected to be sworn on Thursday, three days behind schedule after intense wrangling left the premier in hospital.

“The new ministers in Prime Minister Essam Sharaf’s government will be sworn in on Thursday in front of the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi,” a military official told the state MENA news agency.

The new cabinet had been due to take the oath of office on Monday, but the ceremony was postponed for a day amid protests over the embattled premier’s choice of ministers.

On Tuesday, the government said that Sharaf had been admitted to hospital overnight suffering from exhaustion and would spend the day resting before finalising the new cabinet.

Sharaf, who heads a caretaker government, had hoped the sweeping reshuffle would persuade protesters to end a sit-in in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

Fourteen new ministers and a deputy premier had been expected to take the oath.

But the protesters complained that the new cabinet retained ministers they wanted sacked, including Justice Minister Abdel Aziz al-Gindi, whom they accused of delaying trials of former regime officials, including ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

It will be the second cabinet to take office in the face of protests since a nationwide revolt overthrew Mubarak in February.

He is now under arrest on murder and corruption charges in a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, undergoing treatment for a heart condition.

Sharaf’s cabinet was sworn in weeks after the strongman’s resignation on February 11, after mass protests persuaded the ruling military to sack Mubarak’s last cabinet.AFP

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