Egypt's interim government resigns

8:55 AM, Feb 24, 2014   |    comments
Egyptian prime minister Hazem al-Beblawi (Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)
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CAIRO -- Egypt's army-backed government resigned on Monday, state media reported, marking yet another shakeup in the nation's political scene three years after the ouster of a longtime dictator.

The resignation was announced Monday in a live television broadcast by Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi.

Beblawi confirmed the resignations and offered a brief explanation in a press release posted on the government's state information services website. He said he and his government accepted responsibility for the decisions they made during a difficult time for the country that included insecurity, economic pressure and political confusion.

"By the end of the first stage of the political road map and the ratification of the new Constitution, we have taken many strides on the road of building a democratic society that recognizes human rights," he said.

Beblawi's military-backed cabinet was sworn in on July 16, less than two weeks after Field Marsh Abdel-Fettah el-Sissi, the defense minister, ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi after a year in office.

It was not immediately clear why the resignation took place, but it comes amid a surge of strikes that analysts said may have put pressure on the government. Workers, including public transportation employees and those in the textile industry, have gone on strike in recent weeks demanding higher pay.

"Under these conditions it is very difficult for any cabinet to perform well," Mustapha Al Sayyid, a political science professor at the American University in Cairo, said, noting that the government may have resigned to satisfy public opinion. "There is lack of security and political stability."

Egyptians had high expectations that the interim government would work effectively and improve conditions in the country, Al Sayyid said. El-Beblawi, for example, has been criticized in local media as a lazy bureaucrat, leaving work in the middle of the afternoon and lacking energy to run the country effectively, he said.

Egypt has withstood ongoing political turbulence since longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power in 2011 after ruling the country for 29 years. The country's first freely elected president rose to power in 2012, but he was overthrown last year by Egypt's defense minister and army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Fresh elections are expected take place in coming months, with Al-Sisi expected to win the presidency if he runs for the position.

(USA TODAY)

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