Essam Sharaf tells thousands gathered that he would work to meet their demands
Egypt's new Prime
Minister-designate Essam Sharaf told thousands of protesters in
Tahrir Square on Friday that he would work to meet their demands
and saluted the "martyrs" of the country's revolution.
Sharaf, a former transport minister, was appointed by
Egypt's military rulers on Thursday to replace Ahmed Shafiq, the
former air force officer who had been appointed by Hosni Mubarak
before he was toppled from the presidency on February 11.
He told the crowd he had come "to draw legitimacy" from
them. He was cheered and carried away from the podium on the
shoulders of protesters, escorted by military police.
"I salute the martyrs. Glory and respect to the families of
the victims and a special salute to everyone who took part and
gave for this white revolution," Sharaf said.
"I am here to draw my legitimacy from you. You are the ones
to whom legitimacy belongs," he said.
The protesters had been demanding the resignation of Shafiq
along with other members of government appointed by Mubarak
before he was swept from power by the mass uprising.
"I have been entrusted with a heavy mission and need
patience, will and resolve," Sharaf said.
"The mission that I am trying to realise, with all my heart,
is your goals," he said, adding that the day when he could not
realise them, he would join the protesters in the square.
"Take the oath, take the oath, take the oath," chanted the
crowd, urging Sharaf to take the oath of office in front of
them. He declined to do so.