Essam Sharaf appointed Egypt's new PM
After Ahmed Shafiq heeded calls for him to follow Mubarak out of government, his replacement is immediately identified
Ahmed Eleiba Ahmad Eleiba , Thursday 3 Mar 2011
New Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf
Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq has submitted his resignation to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. The council has accepted the resignation, and almost immediately announced the appointment of a successor, former transport minister, Essam Sharaf.
Shafiq's resignation comes on the eve of the planned "Friday of Determination" mass demonstrations, called for by the youth movements to demand the resignation of Ahmed Shafiq's government and the realization of a host of other revolutionary demands.
Since the fall of Mubarak, protesters have continued to call for a replacement of the current government, which includes the Mubarak-era foreign minister, interior minister and justice minister.
They had put forward Sharaf's name during talks with the military on Sunday during which they also called for rapid, profound changes towards democracy.
"We are happy, we had proposed his name and our demand has been accepted," Shadi al-Ghazali, one of the leaders of the youth movement, told AFP.
Key opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei, welcomed Shafiq's resignation. On Twitter, he said: "We are on the right track, I express my sincere appreciation to the Supreme Council of Armed Forces who have accepted the demand of the people." The military council had 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, a former aviation minister with ties to the military, had been expected to stay in office at least until the elections.
Essam Sharaf has been charged by the supreme council with forming the new cabinet. Sharaf was one of a handfull of ex-ministers who declared their support for the revolution in its early days, and is said to have joined the protesters in Tahrir Square days before ex-president Mubarak stepped down.
A professor of engineering who served under Mubarak from 2004-2006, Sharaf is well respected among the Egyptian public. He has been a vocal opponent of the Mubarak regime since leaving office and has been especially critical of the collapse of public transport under the former president.
The immediate replacement of the hugely unpopular Shafiq points to the armed forces hoping to dilute the anger and focus of protesters tomorrow.