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Egypt's new prime minister faces labor crisis, strikes

Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb risks inflaming unrest if he takes a tough stance on the current public sector strikes.
Ibrahim Mahlab, newly appointed minister of housing of Egypt's interim cabinet which was formed on July 16, 2013, speaks to the media at his office in Cairo in this picture taken on July 1, 2010. Thousands of supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi demonstrated outside the prime minister's office on July 17, 2013 in a "day of steadfastness" to protest against the formation of the new interim cabinet on its first day on the job. Picture taken July 1, 2010. REUTERS/El-Youm el-Sabaa Newspaper  (

CAIRO — "Security and stability in the entire country and crushing terrorism will pave the way for investment." So Ibrahim Mehleb introduced himself as Egypt's new prime minister on Feb. 25, promising that security solutions would finally bring economic prosperity to a country very much ready for it.

But the mass Cabinet resignation announced by former Prime Minister Hazem el-Biblawi Feb. 24 means a consensus on how to deal with growing labor unrest may now start to crumble, complicated further by the reported exit of leftist Kamal Abu Eita as Egypt's manpower minister. Mehleb, housing minister under Biblawi and a member of deposed President Hosni Mubarak's disgraced National Democratic Party before that, has a difficult road ahead.

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