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Cleric Calls on Egyptian Leadership to Replace Cabinet

Egyptian women shout slogans in Cairo's Tahrir Square during celebrations marking one week after Egypt's long-time president Hosni Mubarak was forced out of office, February 18, 2011

Thousands of supporters of Egypt's democracy movement are gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square Friday for a day of celebration marking one week since President Hosni Mubarak stepped down.

A leading Muslim cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi called on the Egyptian army to listen to the will of the people and bring fresh faces into Mr. Mubarak's former cabinet, which still includes many of the former president's allies.

The cleric also called on the Egyptian people to be patient with their new leadership. The Egyptian army, which has popular support, has assumed control of the government until elections can be held.

Though security surrounds the square - the site of 18 days of anti-government protests leading up to Mr. Mubarak's resignation - the mood is reported to be upbeat. Demonstrations are expected to gain momentum as the day progresses.

The Reuters news agency reports supporters of Mr. Mubarak are planning a counterdemonstration to recognize his achievements during three decades in power. Organizers of the marches told Reuters the Mubarak supporters will dress in black, while the victory marchers will wear white.

Egypt's political future is still uncertain, but Reuters reports that the army will not field a candidate in the presidential election, which is expected to be held within the next six months.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said he welcomes the military's commitment to holding free and transparent elections, adding there is "no turning back" on promised political reforms in the country.