Egypt Cabinet Plans to Stay on to Oversee Political Transition

Cabinet spokesman says it is possible some portfolios could change hands during transformation period, but focused now on restoring security and order and beginning the economic process.

Egypt's cabinet, appointed when Hosni Mubarak was still in office, will not undergo a major reshuffle and will stay to oversee a political transformation in the coming months, the cabinet spokesman said on Sunday.

Protesters said they wanted a clear timetable from the military officers now running the country on how long the transitional period would be.

Egypt protests

"The shape of the government will stay until the process of transformation is done in a few months, then a new government will be appointed based on the democratic principles in place," the cabinet spokesman told Reuters, adding that it was possible some portfolios could change hands in that period.

"The main task of this government is to restore security and order and also start the economic process, and to take care of day-to-day life," he said.
Abdullah Helmy, one of the leaders of a newly formed Revolution Youth Union, said what mattered is what the military said about the period of transformation.

"We have to have clarity from the military on the time frame and these comments coming from the government only provoke people and it puts them in confrontation with the army. We are trying to calm things down but they keep provoking us," he said.

Other protesters echoed those sentiments. Some passersby felt the time for protests was over.

"Haven't they got what they want? Can someone explain to me what is left of their demands?" asked one bystander.

But Jihad Laban, an accountant, said much work remained to make sure the revolution did not squander what it had gained.

"We stood by the army in their revolution," he said, alluding to the 1952 coup that toppled the British-backed king. "They need to stand with us in ours.

"The goal was never just to get rid of Mubarak. The system is totally corrupt and we won't go until we see some real reforms. I am going to be buried in Tahrir, I am here for my children. Egypt is too precious to walk away now."

A 38-year-old industrial worker who gave his name only as Mohamed, said he had changed his mind about going home.

"I was going to leave today, but after what the military has done, the millions will be back again. The corrupt system still stands. It has gone back to using the only thing it understands."