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Egypt Postpones New Cabinet Swearing-In


Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf

Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf

Egypt's interim military government has postponed the swearing-in of a newly reshuffled Cabinet, as protesters vow to continue their 10-day protest in Cairo's main square.

Youth leaders on Monday dismissed the shake-up, pointing out that the real power lies with the military council that assumed power after President Hosni Mubarak's ouster five months ago.

Prime Minister Essam Sharaf says 14 of his 27 Cabinet members, including the ministers of finance and foreign affairs, have been replaced. But Interior Minister Mansour el-Essawy is set to retain his post. The police, who fall under his ministry, have been a particular target of protesters because of the aggressive tactics used during and after the uprising that forced Mubarak from power.

Nearly 900 protesters were killed during the revolt. Egyptian reformers are pressing the military council to speed up the purging and prosecution of Mubarak-era officials they blame for corruption and the killing of protesters.

Meanwhile, Egypt's military has issued a decree empowering a top judge to form an electoral commission that will begin organizing the country's first parliamentary elections. The commission is to be headed by the president of the Cairo Appeals Court and will begin work on September 18. Egyptian human rights lawyers said the vote is expected to follow about two months later.

Late Monday, Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf was taken to a Cairo hospital for medical exams after suffering a drop in blood pressure. A Cabinet source said he was later released in stable condition.

A day earlier, the head of Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh hospital denied that Mubarak has fallen into a coma. That claim had come Sunday from the former president's lawyer, Farid el-Deeb, who said the deposed leader was in a "full coma" after suffering a sudden deterioration in his health at the hospital.

Mubarak is 83-years-old.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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