Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hosni Mubarak: "I will die on the soil of Egypt"

In the face of massive protests, beleaguered Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has just announced that he will not seek re-election in September elections.

He forcefully stated in a speech in the last hour that he will "die on the soil of Egypt" and will initiate electoral reforms, including fixed presidential terms.

Whether the public accepts his decision to retain power until fall will be determined over the next few days. The crowds listening to his speech on outdoor monitors heckled as he delivered it. There is speculation that if he can, Mubarak will be using the time to ensure that a successor in the NDP, the ruling Egyptian party, can be introduced to the public and make use of the largely-government controlled media to win popular support. Mubarak's son Gamal is usually mentioned in Egypt as being groomed to take over his father's role. Mubarak has another son, Alaa.

One observation the protesters are beginning to realize is that there may be a million people in the streets, but there are 79 million Egyptians who are staying home who don't necessarily share their aspirations.

A question that remains is, if Mubarak were to step down now, who would assume the reins of power?

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