Cairo: Egypt’s Prime Minister on Monday carried out a major reshuffle naming 15 new ministers as pressure mounted from protestors, who are accusing the country’s military council of shielding ailing ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
As the clamour for purge of Mubarak and remnants of his former regime grew, Mubarak, who is under detention in a hospital, regained consciousness after lapsing into a coma, a top hospital official said.
The 83-year-old ex-ruler, whose trial opens for corruption and murder on August 3, had slipped into a coma yesterday at Sharm el-Sheikh hospital. A conviction could carry the death penalty and protestors fear that the lawyers may be using his health problem as a ruse to win amnesty.
State TV and media dubbed the new lineup as “revolutionary cabinet” as most of the ministers were newcomers, clearly with no ties to the Mubarak era.
But the rejig failed to assuage thousands of protestors, who have returned to Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square, who charged that “the real power-brokers were still generals of Mubarak.”
They said they will not budge from the sit-in till their main demands of ending military trials of civilians and improved minimum wage were conceded.
The most prominent of the ministers purged included antiquities chief Zahi Hawass, who has been for decades the global face of Egypt. His downfall came as he was considered too close to the erstwhile first family.
The axe also fell on Culture Minister Farouq Hosni and Finance Minister Samir Radwan.
The Egyptian Prime Minister also named new ministers for Transport, Military Production, Higher Education and Communication.
Sharaf had accepted the resignation of Foreign Minister on Saturday and named a new face, Mohammad Kamal Omar, once Egypt’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia as the new chief diplomat.
The mushrooming protests, local media reports said indicated growing tension between the people and the military. For the first time, a senior military official, who visited the protest sit-in, was heckled by the protestors. Zeenews