Mubarak's man quits as PM

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The Independent Online

Egypt's Prime Minister, Ahmed Shafiq, resigned yesterday, bowing to pressure from opposition figures angered at his links to the ousted president, Hosni Mubarak.

Mr Mubarak had promoted the former air force officer in the dying days of his regime, hoping the move might redeem him in the eyes of protesters who took to the streets in their tens of thousands to rally against his rule.

The military named Essam Sharaf, a former transport minister, as the new Prime Minister. Mr Sharaf, who will now pick his own cabinet, is popular with pro-democracy activists who want a comprehensive purge of Mr Mubarak's old guard.

Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel laureate, praised the army for removing Mr Shafiq. "Today, [the] old regime has finally fallen. We are on the right track," he said on his Twitter account.

The military took power after Mr Mubarak fell on 11 February, and has promised to hand power to an elected government within six months. The country remains tense, however, with some cities still subject to a curfew. Youth groups had vowed to protest again today if Mr Shafiq was not removed from office.

The ousted president, meanwhile, is facing corruption allegations, with the public prosecutor on Monday freezing his assets and imposing a travel ban.