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Essam Sharaf was appointed prime minister by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces on March 3, 2011 following the resignation of Ahmed Shafiq, who had been widely criticized for being too close to the Mubarak regime. After renewed protests, Sharaf’s government resigned on November 22, 2011 and Kamal al-Ganzouri was appointed by the SCAF as the new prime minister. Sharaf was known for his opposition of the normalization of diplomatic and economic ties to Israel, had joined anti-Mubarak protests on February 8 and thus had the support of the young protesters, who backed his appointment.
Public opinion on the performance of Sharaf’s interim government is now somewhat divided. Sharaf’s endorsement of a draft law banning strikes drew condemnation from activists, but he simultaneously earned support for his stated commitment to fighting pervasive corruption and dismantling the existing security apparatus. Under Sharaf’s leadership, the cabinet has introduced significant legislative reforms, including new laws regulating the establishment of political parties and electoral procedures that will regulate parliamentary elections slated for September 2011.
Sharaf was born in Giza in 1952 and earned a degree in engineering from Cairo University in 1975. He then studied at Purdue University, receiving a Masters in civil engineering in 1980 and a PhD in 1984. Before his government service, Sharaf taught transportation engineering at Cairo University. He later helped establish the Science Bar Association with Ahmed Zuwail and Mohamed ElBaradei in 2007.