Egypt’s Prime Minister and Cabinet Abruptly Resign

   < < Go Back
from The New York Times,

Egypt’s prime minister surprised members of his cabinet on Monday by abruptly announcing the resignation of the military-backed government, which had struggled to manage the country over seven months of political unrest and growing criticism of its performance.

The prime minister, Hazem el-Beblawi, who was appointed last July soon after the military ousted the country’s Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, did not give any reasons for the decision or explain its timing. Quickly, though, there was speculation that it was somehow intended to clear the way for Field Marshal Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, the defense minister and the dominant figure in the government, to announce his candidacy in the coming presidential election.

Yet like many of the decisions emanating from Egypt’s top echelons these days, Mr. Beblawi’s precise motives remained opaque — even to members of his own government. One minister said he was called into a meeting on Monday after the regular Tuesday cabinet meeting was rescheduled.

“I walked in this morning,” he said. “The resignation statement was read. I left.” Mr. Beblawi “didn’t talk about the reasons,” he said.

It was not immediately clear who would replace the departed ministers, and it remained possible that several would be reappointed to their jobs. State news media reported that they would continue to oversee their ministries until a new government was seated.

The government, a caretaker administration that was drafted to manage the country until elections could be held, presided over the most turbulent period in recent memory. It was quickly tested as thousands of supporters of Mr. Morsi held sit-ins in Cairo, calling for the ousted president’s return.

In a statement, Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour, credited Mr. Beblawi with taking the job “at a time when the burden of the nation’s problems, which had accumulated over decades, was immense, both in terms of economic deterioration and marginalization of a number of different segments of society.”

More From The New York Times: