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

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora