Egypt’s cabinet under attack

Egypt’s
new embattled cabinet has met for the first time with security high on its
agenda and under attack from the Muslim Brotherhood and others who want it
purged of ministers appointed by ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

In
preparation for polls that military rulers have promised to hand over power to
civilian rule in six months, activists announced the forming of a new political
party

The
Brotherhood and other political groups have called for another
million-man-march on Friday to fill Cairo’s central Tahrir Square, which was
the nerve-centre for opposition to Mubarak’s 30-year iron rule, to call for a
new cabinet.

Banned
under Mubarak and playing an increasingly active role in Egyptian political
life since the 18-day uprising that toppled Mubarak, the Brotherhood wants the
lifting of emergency law, freeing of political prisoners and a purge of the
cabinet.

The
cabinet discussed security issues in the post-Mubarak era and the provision of
basic foods and subsidies.

Field
Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed
Forces that is running the Arab world’s most populous nation, swore in 10 new
ministers some who had opposed Mubarak, but key portfolios were unchanged.

“The
main ministries of defence, justice, interior and foreign remain unchanged,
signalling Egypt’s politics remain in the hands of Mubarak and his
cronies,” senior Brotherhood member Essam el-Erian said reacting to the
new line-up.

In
the run-up to presidential and parliamentary elections, a committee is amending
the constitution to dismantle the apparatus that propped up Mubarak’s rule and
political parties are being registered ahead of the polls.

A
former diplomat, Abdallah Alashaal, is setting up a new political party
“Egypt the Free” to participate in the polls

“The
establishment of the party comes within the framework and desire to make a real
representation of the youth of 25 January revolution during the coming
period,” Alashaal said.