Egypt's new cabinet sworn in after deadly clashes
Egypt swore in its new interim cabinet yesterday, naming mainly liberals and technocrats to lead a transition to civilian rule, but the deaths of seven people in overnight violence showed the country is still far from stability.
In an ornate hall in the presidential palace, 33 cabinet ministers were sworn in by Adli Mansour, a judge who was installed as interim president by the military when it toppled Islamist Mohammed Mursi on July 3.
The armed forces chief who removed Mursi, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, was given the post of first deputy to interim prime minister Hazem el-Beblawi, a 76-year-old liberal economist tasked with implementing a "road map" to restore full civilian rule and repair a crumbling economy.
But Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood movement, which has said it would have nothing to do with politics until he was reinstated, dismissed the interim government as illegitimate.
"It's an illegitimate government, an illegitimate prime minister, an illegitimate cabinet. We don't recognise anyone in it. We don't even recognise their authority as representatives of the government," spokesman Gehad El-Haddad said.
The swearing-in ceremony was held after battles between Mursi's supporters and security forces that ran into the early hours of the morning, the worst violence in a week.
Two people were killed at a bridge across the Nile in central Cairo, and another five were killed in the district of Giza, said the head of emergency services, Mohamed Sultan. More than 260 people were wounded and more than 400 arrested.
A week of relative calm had suggested peace might be returning, but that was shattered by the street battles - the bloodiest since more than 50 Mursi supporters were killed a week ago.
Not one of the new ministers is from either Mursi's Brotherhood or Nour, the other main Islamist group, which together have won all five elections held in the two and a half years since autocrat Hosni Mubarak was toppled.
A spokesman for the interim president said the Islamists had been offered cabinet posts and would participate in the transition. The Brotherhood called the remarks lies, and said it would never yield its demand for Mursi's return.