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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Head: Breach Won't Happen Again

Julia Pierson tells a House panel investigating a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid