CAIRO: Prime Minister Essam Sharaf promised protesters in his first address after a cabinet shuffle on Thursday that their demands would be met and that the goals of the revolution were his top priority.
The premier made his pledge in a televised statement hours after his new cabinet was sworn-in, in a bid to mollify demonstrators camped out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square since July 8.
Sharaf said he asked his ministers to prepare action plans with the “first objective of achieving the revolution’s goals and preserving its gains.”
The 59-year-old leader, who was briefly hospitalised on Monday suffering from exhaustion after wrangling over his cabinet, told protesters who have vowed to remain in the square that he would deal with their grievances.
“They have a message, and there is no option but to deal with it, and we will deal with it,” he said.
The premier also said his new government, the second since a nationwide revolt ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February, would prioritize the trials of former regime officials implicated in corruption or abuses.
On the defensive, Sharaf, who himself has faced calls to resign because of his government’s limited mandate under the military rulers, said fulfilling the revolt’s demands was “difficult.”
“I could have easily just left my post. I would have been a national hero, but I feel I need to be here to fulfill demands. I hope God grants me patience and strength to hand (the government) over to the next person,” he said.
A parliamentary election is scheduled to take place in November, to be followed by a presidential election.