Against Expectations, Hosni Mubarak Does Not Step Down
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has decided not to step aside and will in fact stay in power until the elections in September. Early reports today indicated that he would resign the presidency, and hand over power to his Vice President, Omar Suleiman.
When the estimated three million energetic Egyptians who had gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in anticipation of Mubarak’s ouster learned of his decision, anger erupted across the crowd and tensions immediately rose. The demonstrators had been chanting “down, down Hosni Mubarak” as they carried anti-Mubarak signs and watched the speech on a large sheet acting as a projection television.
President Mubarak reiterated his promise not to run for re-election in this September, promising an orderly and peaceful transition, and a thorough review of Egypt’s constitution. He began the address saying that he was speaking as a “father to his sons and daughters” and promised that the “blood of the martyrs would not go to waste.”
Mubarak did announce that he had delegated some powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman, but did not detail what those powers would be.
A military spokesman had told news sources prior to the speech that all of the crowds demands would be met. With that expectation in mind, Mubarak’s decision to stay not only surprised many of the Egyptian people, but may also serve to further foment the uprising, perhaps spreading it’s impact to other countries in the region.
After Mubarak’s speech concluded demonstrators began chanting “get out, get out” and took to the cameras of international news crews to express their anger. One Egyptian who spoke to CNN, said that by choosing not to resign, Mubarak was “calling for more rage” in their country.