Egyptian government resigns amid corruption probe

Prime Minister Mahlab and 31 ministers step down after agriculture minister is charged with corruption

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Egyptian Prime Minister, Ibrahim Mahlab

Prime Minister of Egypt, Ibrahim Mahlab, has resigned along with his entire cabinet, just days after the arrest of his agriculture minister, who was charged with corruption.

"The prime minister handed the government's resignation to the president who accepted it," said a statement released on Saturday.

However, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has reportedly asked Mahlab’s 31-member cabinet to continue serving until a new cabinet is put together, a task Sisi has given to Petroleum Minister, Sherif Ismail.

Although the statement did not offer a reason for the resignation, it is believed to be in connection to a graft probe launched against Agriculture Minister, Salah Helal.

Helal was arrested on Sept. 7, after Sisi asked him step down due to the allegation he and his chief of staff "requested and received" bribes from a businessman for the privatisation of state property.

According to unconfirmed reports, other members of Mahlab’s cabinet are also implicated in the investigation.

Mahlab, who has been in charge of the Egyptian government since March 2014, he was appointed by former interim president Adly Mansour after his predecessor Hazem El-Beblawi resigned.

Shortly after taking over from Beblawi, Mahlab paved the way for presidential elections which saw former army general Sisi voted into office.

Sisi, who orchestrated a military coup that deposed Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, won 96.91 percent of the votes against his sole contender Hamdeen Sabahi, with a turnout of 47.5 percent.

The poll was largely boycotted by opposition groups, including Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, due to a widespread crackdown on Sisi’s rivals before the election.

Mahlab has resigned a month before the commencement of crucial legislative elections, due to begin on Oct. 17.


TRTWorld and agencies