Mubarak swears in new cabinet as protests continue

Egyptian president reportedly orders his new PM to "allow wider participation" of political parties, solve unemployment issue.

January 31, 2011 13:25
2 minute read.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak waves

Mubarak waving, kind of smiling 311 . (photo credit: AP Photo/Amr Nabil)


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CAIRO — Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak swore in a new Cabinet on Monday, replacing one dissolved as a concession to unprecedented anti-government protests.

In the most significant change, the interior minister — who heads internal security forces — was replaced. A retired police general, Mahmoud Wagdi, was named to replace Habib el-Adly, who is widely despised by protesters for brutality shown by security forces.

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Gawdat el-Malt, who headed the audit office and is popular due to addressing corruption, was appointed by Mubarak to replace Finance Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali on Monday.

The Egyptian government also said it would negotiate with more political parties, according to DPA.

Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq was ordered by Mubarak to "allow wider participation" of political parties, state television reported. Shafiq will also address unemployment concerns.

Shafiq was appointed prime minister after Mubarak fired his previous government on Friday.

Still, the new Cabinet is unlikely to satisfy the tens of thousands of protests who have taken to the streets in cities across Egypt the past week demanding the ouster of Mubarak and his entire regime. When Mubarak announced the dissolving of the previous government and named his intelligence chief Omar Suleiman as his vice president, protesters on the streets rejected the move as an attempt by Mubarak, Egypt's authoritarian ruler of nearly 30 years, to cling to power.

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The new line-up of Cabinet ministers announced on state television included stalwarts of Mubarak's regime but purged several of the prominent businessmen who held economic posts and have engineered the country's economic liberalization policies the past decades. Many Egyptians resented to influence of millionaire politician-moguls, who were close allies of the president's son, Gamal Mubarak, long thought to be the heir apparent.

In the new Cabinet, Mubarak retained his long-serving defense minister, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, and Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

The longest-serving Cabinet minister, Culture Minister Farouq Hosni, was replaced by Gaber Asfour, a widely respected literary figure.

Egypt's most famous archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, was named state minister for antiquities, a new post.

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