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Egyptian Council Names New Prime Minister
November 26, 2011

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Reaction to the choice of Egypt's latest interim prime minister continues to be mixed, with the ruling military council in favor of it and the protesters in the streets very much opposed.

Kamal el-Ganzouri, who was prime minister from 1996 to 1999, was again named prime minister by the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces. A longtime supporter of former President Hosni Mubarak, el-Ganzouri was deputy prime minister and planning minister before his four years as prime minister.

Large crowds gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square greeted the announcement with disbelief, shouting that change hadn't come at all. The crowd on Friday was estimated to be more than 100,000, the largest since the days before Mubarak resigned. The large crowd dissipated overnight, although several thousand people camped out in front of the Cabinet building in an attempt to prevent el-Ganzouri from entering to take his post.

On Saturday, the head of the military council, Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, met with Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed El-Baradei and Amr Moussa, former head of the Arab League, in separate meetings. Both men are likely candidates for the presidential election, which will take place in June 2012.

Parliamentary elections are due to begin on Monday, and the ruling military council has extended the first round of voting to two days because of the current unrest. The voting will go forward by regions, with the first stage covering nine provinces, including the two large cities of Cairo and Alexandria. Subsequent stages will stretch into March 2012.

Some protesters clashed with police again during the weekend, although the unrest was definitely lower than in previous days. Human rights officials estimate that more than 40 people have died in clashes between protesters and police since November 19.



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