Egypt Furious as Mubarak Steps Aside But Refuses to Resign

World | February 10, 2011, Thursday // 23:06|  views

Anti-government protesters hold up their shoes as a sign or protest after the televised statement of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, 10 February 2011. EPA/BGNES

In a much anticipated TV address Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak has announced delegation of most of his authorty to VP Omar Sueliman – has refused to resgin altogher.

Mubarak’s patronizing address to the anxious Egyptians disappointed them on the 17th day of the protests initated by April 6 Youth Movement as an enormous amount of people rallied in the Tahrir Square in Cairo Thursday night.

Thus, 82-year-old Mubarak, who has ruled Egypt since 1981, declared the transfer of more authority to his Vice President Omar Suleiman, contrary to the expectations that he might finally bow to the staggering public pressue and really step down this time.

In his speech Mubarak said he would “admit mistakes” and honor the sacrifices of young people killed in the three-week uprising, but that he would continue to “shoulder my responsibilities” until September, and did not give a firm indication that he would cede political power.

He did declare that the process of political change initiated by his administration would not be reversed but shied away from indicating an imminent transfer of power.

As Mubarak frustrated the hopes of millions of Egyptians that he might step down, numerous protestors in the Tahrir Square started chanting against the regime in Egypt, and took off their shoes waving them around their heads, which is an expression of insult and defiance in the Arab world.  

Egypt’s embattled President declared that he was transfering his power on to Vice President Omar Suleiman under the country’s Consitution in order to demonstrate that the demands of the protesters will be met with dialogue.

Mubarak has made it clear he will not leave the country, and will continue to be president until the Septmber elections.  

“We need to draft a framework for a gradual transition in all sectors of power. To overcome these hard times and achieve harmony and consensus, we started a national dialogue. It brought together all you people who insist on change and all political parties,” the President said.

To facilitate the power transition, he has announced the setting up of committees made up of renowned individuals to control the fulfillment of his promises to the people.

Mubarak said a compromise must be reached between the need to protect the country from terrorism and the demands of the protesters for constitutional amendments. He is ready to amend the constitution with respect to the provisions for the presidency and the number of terms a person can serve.

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Tags: Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, Omar Suleiman, civil unrest, protests, street protests, Cairo, Tahrir


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