CAIRO, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Egypt's prime minister said the nation's ruling military council would remain in power through June despite ongoing protests in the streets.
Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzoury said Wednesday the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would not yield to calls for it to step aside immediately, although he also announced that voter registration for the next presidential elections would open in March, a month earlier than originally scheduled.
Daily News Egypt said El-Ganzoury lashed out at his news conference against political dissidents who have been calling for civil disobedience against the SCAF. He scolded demonstrators for hindering the Egyptian economy at a time when they should be helping rebuild the country.
"How can the state's budget heed to all of these demands when the (demonstrators) are hindering productivity with their constant protests," El-Ganzoury said.
The government has also come under fire recently for the Feb. 1 riot at a soccer stadium in Port Said, which critics contend spiraled out of control due to ineffective security.
The Ministry of Health Wednesday denied that the death toll had risen in recent days. Officials said the number of those killed remained at 74 despite media reports that burial permits issued for the victims numbered as high 179.
"The death certificates are numbered according to a serial number that indicates certain things to the morgue and the forensics department," ministry spokesman Hesham Sheha told Daily News Egypt. "It isn't tied to certain events or a specific incident."
Meanwhile, friction between the government and Egypt's news media flared up in the form of a protest outside the headquarters of Maspero, the state-run television and radio service. Egypt Independent said Maspero staff members were protesting the cut-off of a recent program on Cairo Channel that implied Maspero leadership was made up of cronies and loyalists to deposed President Hosni Mubarak.