And, in Egypt, Government Submit Resignations

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Leader Makes Surprise Announcement in TV Broadcast.

Egypt’s military-backed interim prime minister and his cabinet abruptly resigned Monday, clearing the way for the nation’s popular defense chief to run for president and further solidify his grip over the country’s future.

Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, in his announcement on live state television, gave no specific reasons for the decision by the interim cabinet to step down after eight months in office, saying only that “reform cannot take place through the government alone.”

But Egypt has been hit by wave of blackouts and mounting labor strikes in recent weeks, and Mr. Beblawi has been criticized by some politicians and pro-military media for his delay in declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization following an upsurge in insurgent attacks on army and police installations.

There was no immediate comment on the resignations from Field Marshal Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, Egypt’s popular military chief who is expected to easily win election as Egypt’s next president when voting takes place later this spring.

Some observers said, however, that with Egypt’s economy faltering and the public’s discontent rising, the shake-up may benefit Field Marshal el-Sisi and the government that most Egyptians believe he will soon head.

“This is overdue and needed because of the unpopularity of the cabinet in the street,” said an official familiar with the matter. “There needs to be a positive change before presidential elections are held and actual results people can see.”

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