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Egypt's political figures gauge El-Beblawi's hits and misses

Passant Darwish, Marina Barsoum, Monday 24 Feb 2014
El-Beblawi
Egypt's PM El-Beblawi (Photo: Reuters)
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After Egypt's interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi announced on state-run TV on Monday that his cabinet had submitted its resignation to interim President Adly Mansour, he concluded with a short statement:

“It is time we all sacrificed for the good of the country. Rather than asking what has Egypt given us, we should instead be asking what we have done for Egypt.”

Accordingly, pundits across Egypt's political spectrum have followed suit and turned this same scrutiny upon the outgoing cabinet, asking what they have truly done for Egypt in the last seven months.

Former presidential hopeful Amr Moussa, who led the 50-member committee tasked with amending Egypt's constitution last year, said on Monday that El-Beblawi had made a great effort under difficult circumstances.

“It must not be forgotten that El-Beblawi's government was temporary, a case applying to any government before the completion of the roadmap," Moussa told Al-Ahram's Arabic news website.

"Let's proceed to the election of Egypt's next president without delays," he said.

On the other hand, Nader Bakkar, a leading figure in the Salafist Nour Party, told state-run MENA that El-Beblawi's government came undeniably short in terms of fulfilling the ambitions of Egyptians.

The government suffered from inconsistency, lack of uniformity and hasty decisions amid increasing criticism, especially after an increase in labour strikes, Bakkar said.

Bakkar added that the Nour Party has long expressed a desire that Ibrahim Mehleb, housing minister in El-Beblawi's cabinet, or Samir Radwan, ex-minister of finance, lead Egypt's new government.

Nour Party head Younes Makhyoun said his party had been expecting a limited cabinet reshuffle and was therefore surprised by the resignation of the entire cabinet.

In a statement to Al-Ahram's Arabic news website, Makhyoun called news of the cabinet's resignation "good" as the government had not been successful.

El-Sayed El-Badawi, head of the Wafd Party, said that although "we should salute this government, which accepted the responsibility in a difficult political situation," it still had its hits and misses.

El-Badawi told Al-Ahram's Arabic website that the government probably resigned due to its failure to contain several labour protests as it was absorbed with battling mounting terrorist attacks across the country.

He predicted that the strikes would dwindle and that people would be more hopeful about the future after the cabinet's resignation.

The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, said the cabinet's resignation was aimed to "absorb the anger of Egyptians."

In a statement published on the FJP's official website, it said the resignation comes as a first move to push Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to run for president.

The Muslim Brotherhood was labelled a terrorist organization by El-Beblawi's government last December.

Amr Ali, general coordinator of the 6 April Youth Movement-Ahmed Maher Front, said Monday that the government had failed in all issues important to the country, even security matters, which it had focused solely upon.

Hossam Moenes, spokesman for the Egyptian Current Party, told private TV channel MBCMisr that El-Beblawi's government had failed in two aspects – first, not giving priority to economic and social affairs and second, the violations committed by security forces in their fight against terrorism.

El-Beblawi, a prominent economist and politician, was named prime minister last July following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi and the government of his prime minister, Hisham Qandil, amid mass protests.

El-Beblawi’s government was subjected to criticism in recent weeks from all colours of the political spectrum in Egypt.

An official source told Ahram Online that interim President Adly Mansour is expected to accept the cabinet's resignation and commission housing minister Ibrahim Mahleb to form the new cabinet. 

Meanwhile, the High Committee for the Doctors' Syndicate strike announced Monday that the doctors' open-ended, partial strike would not be affected by the cabinet's resignation.

The doctors will continue their scheduled strikes for the month of February, with 26 February being the next date for a strike.

Egypt's doctors have been on a twice-a-week partial strike since January. Their longstanding demands include more investment in healthcare services and higher pay.

The Doctors' Syndicate's general assembly referred on Friday Health Minister Maha El-Rabat, who also resigned on Monday, to a syndicate ethics committee after she took actions against striking doctors.

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