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Egypt PM Ahmed Shafiq quits

03 march 2011, 17:54
0
Ahmed Shafiq. AFP©
Ahmed Shafiq. AFP©
Egypt's military rulers have accepted the surprise resignation of Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, seen by protesters as a symbol of ousted president Hosni Mubarak's regime, Mona Salem from AFP quoted the army as saying Thursday.

He will be replaced by Essam Sharaf, a former transport minister who took part in the mass rallies in Cairo's Tahrir Square which led to strongman Mubarak's resignation on February 11 after three decades in power.

Shafiq was appointed by Mubarak in the dying days of his rule, in a failed bid to quell the protests. The military council has been running Egypt since Mubarak stood down.

"The Supreme Council of Military Forces announces that it has accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq," the statement said, without elaborating on the reasons for the move.

Since the fall of Mubarak, protesters have continued to call for a replacement of the current government, which includes several ministers from the toppled regime.

The council has previously ordered the government to run the country's affairs for six months "or until the end of parliamentary and presidential elections" and is also examining constitutional reforms.

Shafiq had been expected to stay in office at least until the elections.

His successor, Sharaf, was transport minister from 2002 to 2005. He was sacked over differences with then-premier Ahmad Nazif. Nazif was himself sacked four days after the start of the anti-Mubarak protests.

Sharaf is popular with the youths who launched the revolt against Mubarak, having taken part in the huge demonstrations in Tahrir Square in central Cairo.

The nationwide protests that erupted on January 25 left at least 384 dead, more than 6,000 injured and scores detained.

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