Update: Egyptian state-owned daily Al-Ahram is reporting (Arabic) that Beblawi's resignation has been rejected by the ruling military council, and that he has been convinced to stay on as finance minister.
As Egypt still reverberates from the worst night of violence since its revolution, finance minister Hazem Beblawi has announced his resignation, protesting against the army attacks that saw 25 people die, most of whom were shot by soldiers or crushed by military vehicles.
Beblawi, an economist and former UN official who was working for the Arab Monetary Fund when tapped for the job in July, was a key figure in the cabinet of prime minister Essam Sharaf, overseeing the economic strategy of the shaky transitional government.
While his aides have stressed his resignation is purely a protest against the violence directed at protesters, it comes as the economy faces troubling deterioration, as foreign exchange reserves continue to deplete and the government's cost of borrowing rises to unsustainable levels. After turning down an IMF loan package earlier in the year, many now believe the international organisation will be the only source of funding that can meet the country's needs.
Beblawi worked to secure funds from Gulf states, who have been big on commitments but less keen on putting cash on the table. On Sunday, Beblawi said Qatar had given Egypt a grant of $500m, and that he was working on securing up to $7bn in further assistance from the Gulf.
Soon after Beblawi's resignation, rumours emerged that prime minister Sharaf, and possibly his entire cabinet, had offered to resign, although these claims were quickly denied by a cabinet spokesman. But the country's military authorities are currently facing the most severe crisis of authority since taking charge in February, and Beblawi's resignation adds a cabinet-level signal of discontent to an already furious set of street protesters and media commentators. A rapid response is needed - and expected - in the coming days, as another Friday of protest approaches.
Egypt: The Maspero Pogrom and The Failure of Leadership - CFR
Cairo clashes mask a more insidious threat to a democratic future - Guardian
The business end of Egypt's revolution begins - FT Tilt
Phase II of the great Arab revolution - FT Tilt
Coverage of Egypt - FT Tilt