Kamal Ganzouri appointed Egypt new PM

Cairo: Former premier Kamal Ganzouri has been appointed Egypt`s new Prime Minister but protesters vowed to step up pressure on the country`s military rulers and called for renewed agitation to demand the army quit power.

Ganzouri, an economist who served as Egyptian premier under ousted president Hosni Mubarak between 1996 and 1999, agreed in principle to lead a national salvation government after meeting Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling military council, state media reported.

Ganzouri, who has distanced himself from Mubarak`s regime, has also been suggested as a possible presidential candidate. Born in 1933, Ganzuri served as minister of planning and international cooperation before his first tenure as Egyptian premier.

This development comes before Monday`s parliamentary elections, the country`s first since Mubarak`s ouster. The previous military-appointed civilian cabinet resigned earlier this week in the wake of violent protests across Egypt calling for an immediate transfer of power to a civilian government.

Egypt`s military rulers, who took power in February after the overthrow of Mubarak, yesterday rejected demands by pro-democracy protesters to step down immediately and said that the elections would go on despite ongoing unrest.

Meanwhile, many demonstrators remained in and around Cairo`s Tahrir square early today.The call for new protests in Tahrir Square come despite an apology by the military rulers yesterday for police killings.

At a press conference in the capital, Cairo, yesterday Mamdouh Shahin, Major General of the military council, said that election plans would continue as planned.

He also assured demonstrators that those responsible for killing or injuring protesters would be held accountable and that many detainees would be released as early as Saturday.

Since Saturday, protesters have clashed with police near the the Tahrir square, the epicentre of the movement that led to Mubarak`s ouster as president nine months ago.

Supreme Council of Armed Forces also promised a swift investigation into the violence that killed 39 people and left more than 3,000 wounded and the prosecution of those responsible.