Egyptian officials swore in the new cabinet on Thursday, removing more than half of ministers previously appointed by ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
The cabinet announced that approximately half of the current interim cabinet would be changed, including finance, foreign, and trade ministry portfolios.
The swearing-in of new ministers, which was delayed due to Prime Minister Essam Sharaf’s brief hospitalization on Monday, took place Thursday morning in the presence of Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling military council.
While Interior Minister Mansour el-Essawy retains his current post, Mohammed Kamel Amr was presented with the foreign ministry portfolio.
While some were appeased with Essawy's decision to remove hundreds of police officers responsible for violence on protesters during the 18-day uprisings in February, others dismiss the move as insufficient to end corruption in Egypt’s police force.
Hazem el-Beblawi, who took over the finance portfolio, faces increasing pressure to change the state’s economy to better serve the millions of poor who are facing economic crisis.
Protesters continue to demand democratic, economic, and political changes in government, including calls for members of Mubarak’s political party to step down from their government roles. They have accused the interim military council of delaying Mubarak’s trial and bringing forth public demands that originally led to his ouster.
The governing military council, who took interim control of Egypt’s government since Mubarak stepped down in February, also announced a new law prohibiting foreign election monitors on Wednesday. Major-General Mamdouh Shaheen said the move would be necessary to protect Egypt’s sovereignty to allow for more transparency during elections.
Mubarak has been hospitalized in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and faces trial in early August. A statement made by Mubarak’s lawyer Farid el-Deeb, who claimed that the deposed president had been in a “full coma” earlier this week, was denied by health officials at the Sharm el-Sheikh hospital.
Recent reports on his current health condition has led to speculation that Mubarak may never face trial, in order to avoid public humiliation for the former military commander.