CAIRO: Egypt’s new government was sworn in on Thursday, the state news agency said, as the ruling army council sought to placate protesters demanding faster reforms and a deeper purge of former President Hosni Mubarak’s allies.The reshuffled cabinet contains 18 new ministers including those for foreign affairs and finance, the official news agency MENA reported. Interior Minister Mansour Essawy keeps his post.The ministers took the oath of office in the presence of Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling military council.
Most of the new names were decided last week but the swearing-in was delayed after Prime Minister Essam Sharaf suffered a drop in blood pressure on Monday as he tried to complete his new ministerial line-up and was sent to hospital.He left hospital later that day after his condition was declared stable.The swearing-in was due to take place on Thursday at midday but was delayed further as Sharaf finalized appointments to the communications and trade and industry ministries, cabinet sources said.
Mahmoud Eissa was named trade minister and Mohamed Salem took the communications portfolio, both promoted from within their departments.Protesters camped out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square have demanded faster political and economic reforms, a swift move to democratic civilian rule and the removal from government of members of deposed Mubarak’s now defunct party.Some protesters welcomed Interior Minister Essawy’s shake-up of police top brass last week. Others say he has done too little to end a culture of thuggery and impunity in the police force.The protests in the capital have increasingly targeted the army council which is accused of delaying Mubarak’s trial and being too slow to remove officials from the old administration. – Arabnews