Egypt cabinet resigns

President Mubarak expected to appoint new prime minister as he struggles to contain anger against his rule.

    Mubarak said on Friday that change can not be achieved through chaos but through dialogue [AFP]

    Egypt's cabinet has formally submitted its resignation, paving the way for a new government to be formed.

    Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, said overnight that he had asked the government to resign after countrywide protests on Friday.

    "The president will announce who will be the next prime minister. But what I understand from the president (in his speech) is that the government should be formed very fast today," Magdy Rady, a cabint spokesman, told Reuters news agency.

    Mubarak address

    Mubarak said on Friday that change cannot be achieved through chaos but through dialogue.

    Saying he understood that the people of Egypt wanted him to address poverty, employment and democratic reform, he promised to press ahead with social, economic and political reforms.

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    "We will not backtrack on reforms. We will continue with new steps which will ensure the independence of the judiciary and its rulings, and more freedom for citizens," Mubarak said.

    He said new steps will be taken "to contain unemployment, raise living standards, improve services and stand by the poor".

    Reacting to the protests that have erupted in the capital and other cities, Mubarak urged calm, adding that only because of his own reforms over the years were people able to protest.

    Mona El Tahawy, an Egyptian columnist and author living in the US, dismissed these comments.

    "There is no political freedom in Egypt, that's exactly why the protests happened," she said.

    "If there were political freedoms, we wouldn't see 12,000 to 14,000 political dissidents in Hosni Mubarak's jails.

    "He spoke tonight as a man absolutely out of touch with his people ... He tells them 'I'm going to implement reform and I care about the people.' That's meaningless. He's been in power for 30 years, he knows how poor people are."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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