Egypt in stalemate over cabinet reshuffle

Arab World Materials 19 July 2011 16:21 (UTC +04:00)

The swearing-in of Egypt's new cabinet,due on Monday, has been postponed for "more consultations," state television reported Tuesday, with no new date given, DPA reported.

The delay comes amid angry protests by activists camping out in central Cairo rejecting the new cabinet ministers, half of whom served under ousted president Hosny Mubarak.

"We categorically reject the line-up of this cabinet," the Revolution's Youth Union, a major protest group, said Tuesday.

On Monday night, protesters marched to the headquarters of the cabinet in central Cairo where they denounced the new government and demanded Prime Minister Essam Sharaf resign.

"The new cabinet has ignored the demands of national powers and protesters who are now on a strike in Tahrir Square," added the group in a statement.

Sharaf, who was appointed in March, has been under intense pressure from protesters to reshuffle his cabinet to replace those who had links with Mubarak's formerly ruling party or are seen as inefficient.

But while the new cabinet includes 15 new faces it keeps 14 members of the previous government. They include the ministers of international cooperation, electricity and the environment, all of whom served under Mubarak.

Several protest groups have said they will continue a strike they began 11 days ago in Tahrir Square, the epicentre of an 18-day popular revolt that toppled Mubarak in February.

They have also called for a mass demonstration on Friday to protest what they say is the failure of the country's military rulers to respond to their demands.

They are demanding the prosecution of Mubarak and former government officials in swift and public trials, the purging of state institutions of all those believed to be loyal to the former president and the promotion of social justice.