In what the AP is calling a "surprise move," Egypt's interim PM today announced that the country's 7-month-old military-backed government will resign. Hazem el-Beblawi made the announcement regarding his Cabinet in a live TV address; it's unclear whether he'll helm the replacement government or be himself replaced. Why the sudden move? Reuters sees it as a step that clears the way for army chief Field Marshal Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi to run for president, something he couldn't do without first giving up his role as defense minister.
"This was done as a step that was needed ahead of Sisi's announcement that he will run for president," an Egyptian official told Reuters. The Cabinet took just 15 minutes to come to its decision, reports the state-run Al Ahram newspaper; el-Beblawi emerged from that meeting saying, "reform cannot take place through the government alone." The resignation comes as the country deals with a number of strikes (by public transport workers and garbage collectors) and challenges, adds the AP, including a severe shortage of cooking gas. (Read more Egypt stories.)