Egypt government resigns

Move follows arrest of agriculture minister amid corruption enquiry.

Egypt's prime minister Ibrahim Mahlab and his cabinet resigned on 12 September, days after the country's agriculture minister was arrested as part of a corruption investigation.

The resignation of the 31-member government was accepted by President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi who tasked the country's outgoing oil minister Sherif Ismail with forming a new cabinet within a week. Mahlab is to remain as caretaker prime minister until the formation of a new government, which will replace the cabinet in place since March 2014.

Although no official reason was given for the government's resignation, the move follows the arrest of agriculture minister Salah Helal on corruption charges. Helal's arrest on 7 September was connected to allegations that he and other officials allegedly received $1 million in bribes to assist businessmen in acquiring state land illegally.

Shortly before his arrest, Helal was ordered to step aside by Sisi who has made transparency and rooting out corruption a cornerstone of his presidency.

The resignation announcement comes as Egypt prepares to hold long-awaited legislative elections in phases from 17 October to 23 November, after three years without parliament.