News / Middle East

    Mubarak Will Not Seek Reelection

    In this image from Egyptian state television aired Tuesday evening Feb 1 2011, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak makes what has been billed as an important speech.
    In this image from Egyptian state television aired Tuesday evening Feb 1 2011, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak makes what has been billed as an important speech.

    Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has announced an end to his near 30-year rule, telling the nation he will not seek another term in office.

    Mr. Mubarak said on state television late Tuesday that he has exhausted his life serving Egypt and its people. He gave no indication of plans to step down or leave the country. Instead, he said he will work during the rest of his term to carry out a "peaceful transfer of power."

    The Egyptian leader's announcement instantly drew the wrath of hundreds of thousands of Egyptians who had taken to the streets nationwide in peaceful demonstrations demanding he resign immediately.

    Listen to VOA's interview with demonstrator Tarek Hefny, who spoke from Cairo's Tahrir Square

    Recorded before President Mubarak's speech

    In Cairo, an estimated 250,000 people gathered in Tahrir (Liberation) Square, a focal point of the peaceful protests, shouting "Leave. Leave." Many held up their shoes, a sign of disrespect in the Arab world.

    Soon after Mr. Mubarak's speech, clashes erupted between protesters and government supporters in the northern port city of Alexandria. At least 12 people were injured. Witnesses reported similar unrest in Suez and other cities east of Cairo.

    Pro-democracy advocate Mohamed ElBaradei told the U.S. television network CNN that Mr. Mubarak's decision to remain in power will extend Egypt's "agony" until presidential elections planned for September. He called the move an "act of deception" from someone who "does not want to let go."

    Watch a related video report from Cairo by VOA's Luis Ramirez:

    Prior to Mr. Mubarak's announcement, U.S. President Barack Obama had urged him not to run for another term, effectively withdrawing American support for its closest Arab ally. The White House said Mr. Obama's message was conveyed by U.S. envoy to Egypt Frank Wisner.

    Key Players in Egypt's Crisis

    • President Hosni Mubarak: The 82-year-old has ruled Egypt for 30 years as leader of the National Democratic Party. Egypt's longest-serving president came to power after the assassination of his predecessor, Anwar Sadat.
    • Mohamed ElBaradei: The Nobel Peace laureate and former Egyptian diplomat has gained international attention as a vocal critic of Mr. Mubarak and his government. Until recently he headed the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, and he has lived outside Egypt for years. ElBaradei founded the nonpartisan movement National Association for Change, and has offered to lead a transitional administration in Egypt if Mr. Mubarak steps down.
    • Vice President Omar Suleiman: The new Egyptian vice president has served as head of intelligence and is a close ally of President Mubarak. He earned international respect for his role as a mediator in Middle East affairs and for curbing Islamic extremism.
    • Ayman Nour: The political dissident founded the Al Ghad or "tomorrow" party. Nour ran against Mr. Mubarak in the 2005 election and was later jailed on corruption charges. The government released him in 2009 under pressure from the United States and other members of the international community.
    • Muslim Brotherhood: The Islamic fundamentalist organization is outlawed in Egypt, but remains the largest opposition group. Its members previously held 20 percent of the seats in parliament, but lost them after a disputed election in late 2010. The group leads a peaceful political and social movement aimed at forming an Islamic state.

    The 82-year-old Mr. Mubarak insisted his decision not to run had nothing to do with the unprecedented protests that have shaken Egypt for the past week. He said he never intended to be a candidate for another term.

    Tens of thousands also joined Tuesday's rallies in Suez, Mansoura and Alexandria.

    Demonstrators in the capital carried signs saying "Bye, bye Mubarak" as helicopters flew overhead. Effigies of Mr. Mubarak hung from traffic lights.

    Military forces, stationed throughout Cairo, did not interfere with the massive crowd. The army had announced earlier it recognized the "legitimate demands" of the Egyptian people, and it pledged not to fire on protesters.

    The U.S. Ambassador in Cairo, Margaret Scobey, spoke by telephone Tuesday to ElBaradei, who has emerged as a central figure of the Egyptian opposition. The country's powerful Muslim Brotherhood, along with a group of smaller, secular parties, has agreed to have the Nobel Peace laureate act as a lead spokesman for the loose coalition.

    Officially banned, the Islamist Brotherhood is a wide-ranging social and political organization that fields independent candidates in parliament.

    Egypt is one of only two Arab countries to have relations with Israel, and it is a key U.S. ally in fighting Islamic terrorism and standing against Iran and Syria's growing influence in the region.

    The movement to drive Mr. Mubarak out has emerged from the work of online activists and is fueled by deep frustration with an autocratic regime blamed for ignoring the needs of the poor and allowing corruption and official abuse to run rampant.

    Banks, schools and the stock market remained closed in Egypt for the third working day Tuesday, making cash tight. Bread prices spiraled. An unprecedented Internet cutoff remains in place.

    At least 140 people died during protest violence last week.

     

    NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora