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Swearing-in Delayed for Reshuffled Egyptian Cabinet

Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf (file photo)

Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf (file photo)

Egypt's military-backed interim government has postponed the swearing-in of a reshuffled Cabinet until Prime Minister Essam Sharaf's health improves.

The decision was announced by state-run media on Tuesday, a day after Sharaf was taken to a Cairo hospital for medical exams after suffering a drop in blood pressure.

About 14 new ministers in the country's 27-member Cabinet were due to take the oath of office on Monday as a part of a reshuffle designed to appease the demands of protesters whose uprising led to the ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak in February.

Demonstrators have been camping out in Cairo's Tahrir Square for more than a week to voice their displeasure with what they say is the interim government's slow pace of reforms.

Their demands include speeding up the process of purging officials held over from the Mubarak government.

On Monday, youth leaders dismissed the planned Cabinet shake-up, in part because Interior Minister Mansour el-Essawy is expected to keep his post. The police, who fall under his ministry, have been accused of aggressive tactics during the protests that led to Mubarak's February resignation.

Separately, the state-run news agency MENA says Mubarak sometimes becomes unconscious, but did not go into a coma.

The news agency quoted a medical source on Tuesday as saying the former president is stable, but suffers a heartbeat problem.

The 83-year-old former president remains in detention at Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh hospital. He faces charges that include corruption and ordering security forces to open fire on protesters during the uprising that led to his resignation.

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