Egypt's Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq has resigned, according to the country’s ruling military council.

The measure was apparently in response to protesters who viewed Shafiq as tainted by his long association with former President Hosni Mubarak.

Essam Sharaf, a former minister of transport, was asked to form a new government in a gradual transition to civilian rule.

Sharaf is popular with the protesters since he opposed Mubarak after stepping down from the cabinet five years ago and supported the recent street demonstrations. (Sharaf had resigned in 2005 after a deadly train accident in protest over what he viewed as a failure to improve the country's railway system.)

Shafiq had a very short term as Prime Minister – having been appointed just a few days before President Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down in the face of massive anti-government protests.

Opposition groups have embraced Shafiq’s departure, however there are still plans for a big demonstration on Friday on Tahrir Square.

One protester told Al Jazeera: They [protest organizers] want to keep up the pressure in terms of their other demands, like the release of political prisoners and the lifting of emergency law.”