Egypt unveils new cabinet

2011-01-31 14:53

Widely hated interior minister Habib al-Adly and businessmen were axed in a new Egyptian cabinet announced today by embattled President Hosni Mubarak, who otherwise kept the lineup largely unchanged.

State television showed images of the new ministers being sworn in and shaking hands with Mubarak.

Absent were Al-Adly and the finance and culture ministers of the previous cabinet.

Al-Adly was replaced by Mahmud Wagdi, a police general.

Al-Adly’s ouster was one of the demands of protesters who have for a week demanded the departure of Mubarak and his entire regime.

They have also called for an end to corruption and oppression.

Business tycoons close to the regime playing an important role in politics is seen in Egypt as a sign of corruption, while Mubarak’s son and previous heir apparent Gamal is also closely linked to the political-business milieu.

Mubarak on Saturday asked previous aviation minister Ahmed Shafiq to form a new government, while at the same time naming intelligence chief Omar Suleiman as the first vice-president in his three-decade rule.

But protesters massed in downtown Cairo insisted they would only be satisfied when Mubarak quits.

“We will accept no change other than Mubarak’s departure,” said one protester who asked not to be named.

Protester Rifat Ressat said: “We want a complete change of government, with a civilian authority.”

The departure of Al-Adly, who controls Egypt’s notorious security forces who are accused of systematic human rights violations, was however welcomed.

“The interior minister is responsible for all the violence, because it’s the police that opened fire on demonstrators,” said Ressat.

Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit retained his job, as did Defence Minister General Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, in the decree issued by Mubarak and read out on state television.

Flamboyant culture minister Faruq Hosni, who last year narrowly lost out on becoming the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation following controversial comments about Israeli books, was replaced by university lecturer and literary critic Gaber Asfur.

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