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Egypt’s government steps down

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iol pic afr sisi- Mideast Egypt~44

Associated Press

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi signs a handover of power document, transferring the presidency to him from interim leader Adly Mansour in the presence of dozens of local and foreign dignitaries at the presidential palace in Cairo. File picture: MENA/AP

Cairo - Egypt's interim prime minister Ibrahim Mahlab said his cabinet had resigned on Monday, allowing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to choose a new team on his first day in office.

Ex-army chief Sisi was sworn in on Sunday, nearly a year after he ousted elected president Mohamed Morsi after millions protested against the Islamist's divisive one year rule.

The government installed by Sisi, who has been the de facto leader since he toppled Morsi, resigned to allow the new president to “choose an appropriate one to serve the nation,” Mahlab said in a statement.

“I assure you that along with the ministers... I exerted all efforts to accomplish the duties we were tasked with in very difficult circumstances,” Mahlab said.

Since Morsi's ouster, Egypt has been deeply polarised and its economy has nosedived on falling tourist revenues and investments.

Egyptian newspapers reported that Sisi is expected to ask Mahlab to continue in his post, but would make minor changes to the cabinet.

The government has carried out a brutal crackdown on the former president's Muslim Brotherhood in which more than 1 400 people have been killed and thousands more jailed.

Hours after his inauguration, Sisi, in a warning to the now blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood, said there will be “no leniency and truce with those who resort to violence”.

“I am looking to a new era built on reconciliation and tolerance.. except with those who committed crimes or used violence as a tool,” he said on Sunday in his first national address as president.

“I am saying clearly that those who shed the blood of the innocent and killed ... the sons of Egypt, they don't have a place in (our) march.”

At his inauguration, Western countries, alarmed by the brutal police crackdown on dissent, were represented mostly by low-level representatives.

Sisi becomes Egypt's second elected president since a popular uprising overthrew longtime strongman Hosni Mubarak in 2011, unleashing more than three years of political turmoil. - AFP


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