Last updated: 9 June, 2014

Egypt government to quit, Sisi to make cabinet changes

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who took office on Monday, tasked prime minister Ibrahim Mahlab with forming a new government after the previous cabinet resigned, the presidency said.

Ex-army chief Sisi was sworn in on Sunday after winning a lopsided victory in a vote boycotted by the Muslim Brotherhood movement of Mohamed Morsi, the elected president he deposed last July.

“The president accepted the government’s resignation and tasked Mr Mahlab with the formation of a new government to implement the state’s vision for the upcoming phase,” presidential spokesman Ehab Badawy said in a statement.

Mahlab said he had not yet begun talks on forming a new government, state news agency MENA reported.

The previous cabinet installed by Sisi, Egypt’s de facto leader since he ousted Morsi, resigned on Monday to allow the new president to “choose an appropriate one to serve the nation”, Mahlab said in an earlier statement.

“I assure you that along with the ministers… I exerted all efforts to accomplish the duties we were tasked with in very difficult circumstances,” Mahlab said.

Since Sisi deposed Morsi after millions of people protested against the Islamist’s divisive year-long rule, Egypt has been deeply polarised.

The economy has also nosedived on falling tourist revenues and investments.

At the same time, the government has carried out a brutal crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood in which more than 1,400 people have been killed and thousands jailed.

After Sunday’s inauguration, in a warning to the now blacklisted Brotherhood, Sisi said there will be “no leniency and truce with those who resort to violence”.

“I am looking to a new era built on reconciliation and tolerance… except with those who committed crimes or used violence as a tool,” he said in his first national address as president.

“I am saying clearly that those who shed the blood of the innocent and (who) killed… the sons of Egypt, they don’t have a place in (our) march.”

Just hours after his speech, a Cairo court on Monday gave one-year jail terms to 112 Morsi supporters for holding unauthorised protests, rioting, blocking roads and assaulting policemen on January 25, the third anniversary of the 2011 revolt against long-time strongman Hosni Mubarak.

Another court sentenced eight Morsi supporters to five years in jail on similar charges over violence that erupted in November in central Cairo, as the Islamist leader was going on trial.

Morsi and top Brotherhood leaders are being tried on charges that could incur the death penalty.

At Sisi’s inauguration, Western countries, alarmed by the crackdown on dissent, were represented mostly by low-level representatives.

Sisi becomes Egypt’s second elected president since the overthrow of Mubarak, which unleashed more than three years of political turmoil in the Arab world’s most populous nation.