- (Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah)
Egypt's ruling military council appointed Kamal el-Ganzouri on Friday as prime minister to form "a national salvation government" to replace the cabinet which resigned this week.
Kamal el-Ganzouri, 78, is a former prime minister under President Hosni Mubarak. His appointment comes as protests continue to intensify in Cairo with tens of thousands of people demanding that the generals step down.
The news comes as Egypt’s military rulers held a press conference Thursday in Cairo, telling thousands of attendees that parliamentary elections will definitely commence on Monday as planned.
Maj. Gen. Mokhtar El Mulla, military council member and head of the country’s election committee, said that maintaining power over the riotous country is a curse.
“We will not relinquish power because a slogan-chanting crowd said so. … Being in power is not a blessing. It is a curse. It’s a very heavy responsibility,” he told the crowd.
Mulla added that stepping down from government rule would be a “betrayal of the trust placed in our hands by the people.”
Since last Saturday, crowds have stormed Egypt’s major cities, including Cairo and Suez, to push the ousting of military rule which has held reign in the country since the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime after the Jan. 25 revolution.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces offered its deepest apologies to the families of those killed in the clashes between military forces and civilians this week.
Mulla went on to say the elections will continue on as planned: “We will not delay elections. That is the final word."
The military regime went against its original promise of temporary power, announcing in October it would not step down until Egypt ratified a new constitution and formed a constitutional assembly.
Mulla said that most Egyptians maintain “absolute confidence” in the army, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
Civilian protests, which have grown violent over the past few days, could potentially threaten the upcoming parliamentary elections on Nov. 28. The Civilian Cabinet offered to resign to the military council Monday in light of growing protests.
Although Coptic Christians and Muslims have combined forces to protest military rule, the parliamentary elections are expected to be predominately Islam-dominated.
Christians, who have already diminished by 95,000 since the February uprisings, fear further marginalization after the elections.
A recent poll conducted by the Egyptian Union for Human Rights reveals that over half of Egypt’s Christians are not planning to vote in the upcoming election.
Protesters argue that continued military rule would reflect the oppressive rule of ousted Mubarak, thus proving the futility of the Arab Spring Uprisings.