Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf (Photo:AP)
Following the deadly clashes that took place in front of the Maspero state television building last Sunday, the Cabinet has placed the matter of its resignation in the hands of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), for their consideration.
Mohamed Hegazy, spokesman for the Egyptian Cabinet, clarified that the government has not submitted its resignation, but has only placed the matter under the disposition of the military council, as a “standard procedure” that follows a crisis of such volume. Hegazy has also denied any tendencies of the government to resign at such a “crucial” time.
Over the last 48 hours, several political forces and groups have strongly condemned the government’s performance during the crisis and demanded the immediate resignation of all Cabinet members, following the deadly violence involving the military police at the pro-Copt protest in front of the Maspero building on Sunday night. The incident was one of the most violent episodes Egypt has witnessed since the resignation of Mubarak, with at least 25 protesters killed and 300 injured, according to official estimates so far.
Rumours from inside the Cabinet offices have highlighted two names for the position of prime minister, should the military council decides to replace Essam Sharaf. The first is Mohamed ElBaradei, former director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency and potential presidential candidate, and the second is Kamal El-Ganzoury, a former prime minister of Egypt during the 1990s.
Sharaf has stated that he has not yet reviewed the resignation submitted by one of his deputies, Minister of Finance Hazem El-Beblawi, who chose to quit both of his posts this afternoon in protest over the government’s response to the Maspero crisis.