Egyptian protesters have gotten another one of their demands: It was announced Thursday that Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq has resigned. Shafiq hadn't been Prime Minister for long--former President Hosni Mubarak appointed him on January 29, just after dismissing his entire cabinet--but his association with Mubarak made him a widely distrusted figure. Many in the opposition believed "Mubarak... would continue to rule through" Shafiq, according to The New York Times.
Shafiq will be replaced by Essam Sharaf, a former transportation minister who's spent the past few years in academia. Sharaf participated in the Tahrir Square protests, and according to Al Jazeera, he's "likely to get a warm welcome from the opposition." The initial response from Egyptian reformers has been near jubilant. Issandr El Amrani, an Egyptian commentator who runs the blog The Arabist tweeted "Sharaf's appointment shows that protestors' pressure on army works -- and therefore that it should continue." Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times suggests that "Shafiq's resignation is an indication the military is attempting to at least publicly weaken the influence of Mubarak's inner-circle as it works with opposition figures to form a transitional government."
Though Shafiq's ouster and Sharaf's ascension are significant victories for the protesters, they're still going ahead with a major demonstration planned for Friday. The Times reports that the protesters--currently based in an "informal headquarters in a resurrected tent city in Tahrir Square"--will call for the end of Egypt's 30-year state of emergency, the release of political prisoners, and "the dismantling of the country’s feared state security service."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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