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Egypt's Military-Backed Government Resigns in Surprise Move

<p>Resignation by government sworn in on July 16 may be designed to pave the way for Egypt's military chief to run for president.</p>
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/ Source: Reuters

Egypt's interim prime minister announced the resignation of his Cabinet on Monday, a surprise move that could be designed in part to pave the way for the nation's military chief to leave his defense minister's post to run for president.

Interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi's military-backed government was sworn in on July 16, less than two weeks after Army Field Marshall Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the defense minister, ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi after a year in office.

The government's resignation, announced by el-Beblawi in a live TV broadcast, came amid a host of strikes, including one by public transport workers and garbage collectors.

An acute shortage of cooking gas has also been making front page news the past few days.

It was not immediately clear whether el-Beblawi will stay at the helm of a new government or will step aside for a new prime minister.

El-Beblawi has often been derided in the media for his perceived indecisiveness and inability to introduce effective remedies to the country's economic woes. He has also been criticized for the security forces' inability to prevent high-profile terror attacks blamed on militants sympathetic with Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood.

A presidential bid by the popular el-Sisi has been widely anticipated and leaving him out of the next Cabinet will most likely be accompanied by an announcement by the 59-year-old soldier that he is running.

– Reuters