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Swearing-in of Egyptian cabinet delayed; no reason given

Arab World Materials 18 July 2011 22:50
Egypt's reshuffled cabinet is to be sworn in on Tuesday, a day later than scheduled, state television reported.
Swearing-in of Egyptian cabinet delayed; no reason given

Egypt's reshuffled cabinet is to be sworn in on Tuesday, a day later than scheduled, state television reported.

It gave no explanation for the delay, which local media reports said was prompted by last-minute protests over some of the appointments, dpa reported.

Employees in the Antiquities Ministry protested the choice of Abdel Fatah al-Bana for the ministerial post, saying he was involved in the presidential campaign of Mohammed El-Baradei, the Nobel laureate and former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Prime Minister Essam Sharaf would look for another candidate for the ministry, the semi-official newspaper Al-Ahrm reported online.

Last week, Sharaf promised to carry out a major reshuffle of his four-month-old cabinet after coming under pressure from protesters to sack ministers who served under ousted president Hosny Mubarak or had links with his party.

The 15 newcomers to the cabinet will Tuesday take the constitutional oath before the chief of the ruling Military Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, according to state TV.

They include ministers of foreign affairs, finance, health, higher education, agriculture, local government, irrigation, telecommunications, transport, civil aviation, antiquities and religious affairs.

The line-up also features two deputy prime ministers - Ali al-Selmi, a leading member of the liberal Al-Wafd Party, was named deputy prime minister for political affairs and democratic transformation. Hazem al-Beblawi, a well-known economist, was appointed deputy prime minister for economic affairs and finance minister.

Fourteen members of the previous government have been retained in the new cabinet, triggering fresh criticism.

"Our movement sees this cabinet reshuffle as inadequate," said Mohamed Adel, a spokesman for April 6, a key protest group.

"While we continue to insist on having Essam Sharaf as prime minister, we think that the reshuffle carries a mistake of the past by keeping ministers from the Mubarak's National Democratic Party," he added.

"We will continue our strike so long as ministers from Mubarak's party keep their seats."

Scores of Egyptian protesters Monday continued to camp out in central Cairo and other big cities demanding the military rulers to expedite the prosecution of Mubarak and former government officials in public trials.

Mubarak, 83, was toppled in February in a popular revolt that left an estimated 850 people dead and more than 6,000 injured.

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