Egyptian prime minister steps down; armed forces appoint former transport minister to position

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Ahmed Shafik, Egypt's acting prime minister, has resigned, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, now in control of the country, announced yesterday.

Shafik was appointed to his position by then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak during the 2011 Egypt anti-government protests, not long before Mubarak decided to resign as president on February 11, 2011. Meanwhile, a number of his cabinet ministers have retained their positions. Shafik had received criticism for his negative attitude towards young protesters and his "inadequate vision", according to the Los Angeles Times.

In response to the announcement of Shafik's resignation, Wael Ghonim, a Google executive, credited with organizing the first demonstration and a former political prisoner, wrote on Twitter, a micro-blogging website, "Power to the people!" During the Egyptian protests, one of the key demands of the protesters was that Shafik step down from his acting minister status. Mohamed ElBaradei, another pro-democracy activist and co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, tweeted on Twitter that Egypt is "on the right track."

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Did Ahmed Shafik make the correct decision to resign? Is Essam Sharaf the right person to be prime minister?

The statement released by the Council also announced Essam Sharaf as the new prime minister. "The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces decided to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq and appointed Essam Sharaf to form the new government," the armed forces said on social networking website Facebook.

Sharaf formerly held the position as the Minister of Transportation. The Los Angeles Times reports that he departed from that position five years ago, during the aftermath of numerous train collisions in which the Egyptian government was accused of carelessness.

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was considered persona non grata by Egypt on Monday, as was his family. According to BBC News Online, Mubarak is not in the good health and has yet been seen or heard from in public since his resignation.

Despite having achieved one of their aims, protesters intend to continue demonstrating with mass rallies on Friday because all their demands have yet to be met. The removal of a current emergency law is amongst those demands. The law allows the Egyptian government to place people under arrest without charges brought against them. In a statement, the January 25 Youth Coalition said that they "still demand a specific time frame to achieve the rest of the revolution's basic demands." The protesters also continue to request the removal of ministers with ties to the old regime.

Newly appointed Egyptian prime minister Essam Sharaf on January 1, 2011. Image: Nabil Omar.
Newly appointed Egyptian prime minister Essam Sharaf on January 1, 2011.
Image: Nabil Omar.
Activist Wael Ghonim in 2011. Image: Mido.
Activist Wael Ghonim in 2011.
Image: Mido.
Pro-democracy activist Mohamed ElBaradei in 2005. Image: Sanao.
Pro-democracy activist Mohamed ElBaradei in 2005.
Image: Sanao.
Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak on October 17, 2009. Image: Candito.
Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak on October 17, 2009.
Image: Candito.
Egyptian protesters demonstrating in Tahrir Square, Cairo on February 8, 2011. Image: Jonathan Rashad.
Egyptian protesters demonstrating in Tahrir Square, Cairo on February 8, 2011.
Image: Jonathan Rashad.
2011 Egyptian Revolution poster. Image: FreeStylee.
2011 Egyptian Revolution poster.
Image: FreeStylee.
Flag of Egypt. Image: Open Art Clip.
Flag of Egypt.
Image: Open Art Clip.
Coat of arms of Egypt. Image: Flanker.
Coat of arms of Egypt.
Image: Flanker.


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