Ahmed Shafiq
Ahmed Shafiq speaking in Cairo on February 3, 2011 Photo by AP
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Egypt's Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq resigned on Thursday and a former transport minister was picked to appoint a new government after pro-democracy activists demanded a purge of Hosni Mubarak's old guard from the cabinet.

Military rulers said they had accepted the resignation of Shafiq and appointed Essam Sharaf in this place.

Shafiq was appointed by Mubarak, 82, in his final days in office before he stepped down on February 11 after an 18-day popular uprising against his rule which shook the Middle East.

"The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces decided to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq and appointed Essam Sharaf to form the new government," the army said in a statement on its Facebook page.

The Muslim Brotherhood and other political groupings had been calling for Shafiq and his government, where the key defense, justice, foreign and interior ministers were all appointed during the Mubarak era, to quit.

They had urged a clean break from the 30 years of Mubarak rule and wanted a cabinet of technocrats appointed in the interim period before elections that would choose a new parliament and president, expected later this year.

Sharaf served as transport minister from 2004-06. He then returned to academia to teach as a professor at Cairo University. He received a doctorate from America's Purdue University in 1984.