Mubarak is Forced Out
Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak resigned his post as president and handed over reins of power to the military on Friday, bowing down to a historic 18-day poplar uprising, a wave of pro-democracy demonstrations by hundreds of thousands Egyptian citizens that has transformed politics in country and around the Arab world. Egypt’s defense minister General Mohamed Hussein Tantawi is the head of the Higher Military Council that took control of country after Mr. Mubarak resignation, a military source said. It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Suleiman would retain a role, under the military council, in running the country.
The streets of Cairo exploded in shouts of “God is Great”, and outside the presidential palace , tens of thousands of people chanted “The people ousted the president”, moments after Mr. Mubarak’s vice president and longtime intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, announced that Mr. Mubarak has passed all authority to a council of military leaders. The announcement came during evening prayers.
“Taking into consideration the difficult circumstances the country is going through, President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave the post of president of the republic and has tasked the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to manage the state’s affairs,” Mr. Suleiman, grave and ashen, said in a brief televised statement. Shortly before the announcement of Mr. Mubarak’s departure, the military issued a communiqué pledging to carry out a variety of constitutional reforms.
82-years old Mr. Mubarak who ruled Egypt for 30 is believed to have departed to his coastal resort home in Sharm el-Sheik. He had initially sought to cling on to power by handing some of his authorities to General Suleiman while keeping his title. But the protests exploded on Friday as protesters rejected the move. This appeared to have pushed the military into finally forcing him out.
Nobel Peace laureate Mohammed ElBaradei, whose young suporters were among the organizers of the protest movement, told The Associated Press, “This is the greatest day of my life.” adding that “The country has been liberated after decades of repression,” adding that he expects a “beautiful” transition of power.
Meanwhile, State radio is reporting that Naguib Sawiris, a wealthy and widely respected businessman, has agreed to act as a mediator between the opposition and the Egyptian authorities in carrying through the political reforms, a development that was cheered by protesters.