By Mai Shams El-Din
CAIRO: Prime Minister Essam Sharaf told jubilant protesters in Tahrir Square that he drew his legitimacy from the people.
“I was appointed by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, but I came here to draw my legitimacy from you,” said Sharaf.
“My mission requires a lot of persistence and courage, and I am drawing this from you.”
Appointed on Thursday, Sharaf was yet to officially take his service oath.
He was assigned to form a new government after former PM Ahmed Shafiq resigned.
“Your demands are my duty and when I cannot meet them I will be here [among the protesters] not here [on the podium],” Sharaf told thousands of demonstrators in Tahrir.
The crowd chanted for the dismantling of the notorious state security services.
“I pray for a free Egypt,” he said. “I hope that one day opinions would be heard from outside the prison cells and the security of the citizens the main priority.”
“You did a great thing; rebuilding Egypt is even greater,” he added.
Sharaf has reportedly led a number of Cairo University professors that protested in Tahrir Square calling form former president Hosni Mubarak to fall.
Activists had listed his name among their suggestions for new ministers.
Following his appointment, protesters and online campaigns urged him to take his service oath in Tahrir Square. On Friday morning, the official Facebook page of the cabinet said he’d be in the Cairo square that was the epicenter of the demonstrations that toppled Mubarak.
He started his brief Friday speech by apologizing for praying inside the mosque and not with the masses in Tahrir; and if any of the military police that escorted him to the podium had pushed any of the people there.
“Salutes to the souls of the martyrs and injured people and we all appreciate their pains. May God bless them and bless everybody contributed to the success of this revolution,” he said.
Demonstrators asked Sharaf to recite the oath in front of them, but he did not.
“Finally, I ask for a minute of silence for the souls of our martyrs,” he said before being carried on demonstrators’ shoulders as he left Tahrir.