CAIRO: Egypt’s Prime Minister promoted his interim government’s achievements on Wednesday since taking office in February before a rally planned in Cairo on Friday.
Facebook groups, which helped oust President Hosni Mubarak in February, have been complaining about what they see as slow political and economic reforms and delays by the military council and the interim government in bringing to justice former officials charged with abuse of power and graft.
They have called for a massive demonstration in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the hub of protests that toppled Mubarak, on Friday in what they dubbed the “second revolution”.
Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, in an address on state television, did not mention Friday’s protest, but appealed to Egyptians to give his government time to meet their demands.
“It is difficult, even impossible, for us to deal with and realize all factional demands…on an individual basis,” he said. “The problem isn’t financial problems only. A lot of [the problems] depend on institutional and administrative reform.”
“I hope that you cooperate with us and give us time to meet these demands in a way that is fair for all,” Sharaf said.
He added that the police, which had been in disarray since the uprising, was being restructured and that a plan was being drawn up for 13 watchdog bodies to root out corruption and safeguard public funds.
Endemic graft was one of the main grievances that drove Egyptians to the streets in the uprising that began on Jan. 25.
On Tuesday, Egypt’s public prosecutor referred Mubarak and both his sons to a criminal court on charges of killing protesters, abuse of power and wasting public funds.
Sharaf said that the interim government was taking various measures to revive investment in the country, boost small and medium enterprises, reform wage structures, and create free trade zones between Egypt and other African nations.
“There is a general direction now to remove Egypt from the list of the world’s most corrupt countries after the efforts undertaken to refer corrupt officials to the prosecution,” Sharaf said.