Egyptian PM rejects 'trembling hands' criticism

Ahram Online , Monday 25 Nov 2013

Critics have accused El-Beblawi's government of being weak and indecisive

Egyptian PM
Egypt's Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi has hit back at media critics who have labelled his administration the "trembling hands" government and called for stronger action against the Muslim Brotherhood.

El-Beblawi said that his cabinet had taken the "firm and strong" decision to disperse a Brotherhood-led sit-in in August at the third cabinet meeting after the government was formed.

The dispersal of the sit-in, which had demanded the reinstatement of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, left hundreds of protesters dead.

In a statement at an investment conference hosted by the Egyptian British Business Association in Cairo on Monday, El-Beblawi also cited his government's instatement of a LE1,200 minimum wage in September, following a court order in 2010 that mandated the measure.

The prime minister said that the government had not used any exceptional measures sanctioned by the emergency law during the period from August to November in which it was in force, with the exception of imposing a curfew. El-Beblawi said that such restraint reflected courage and strength.

El-Beblawi also responded to criticisms that the government has been slow on investment matters, citing the existence of court rulings in investors' arbitration cases, adding that some of the cases were resolved by the disputes committee of Egypt's General Authority for Investment.

He also said reforms were being made to reduce the time-consuming procedures regulating tenders.

El-Beblawi told attendees that the government's primary concern was security, which economic progress was continent on.

Egyptian security forces have cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters since the army ousted Morsi in July after mass protests against him. Hundreds of top and mid-ranking Brotherhood members are in prison, alongside pro-Morsi activists.

The government had accused the Brotherhood of being involved in a terrorist plot against the state as dozens of police and army officers and personnel have been killed by armed assailants, especially in restive North Sinai.

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