Egypt’s Mubarak won’t run again, but protesters look to speed his exit

February 2, 2011


Announcing an end to a near 30-year reign in power, Egypt’s president told the nation late Tuesday that he will not run for office in September.  The decision was hailed by thousands of Egyptians, but it might not be enough to quell protester demands for Hosni Mubarak to leave office immediately.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak made the surprise announcement on live television, saying he will not run again.  He said he does not intend to renominate himself because, he said, his first responsibility is to ensure the stability of his nation and preserve its integrity.

This announcement follows a huge protest that drew hundreds of thousands of people, the largest since the uprising began a week ago.  The reactions have been immediate.  I could see from where I was standing, the crowds of demonstrations standing around radios listening to Mr. Mubarak’s speech.  They cheered when they heard him say he would not run again for president.

Demonstrators gathered at Tahrir Square are also celebrating.  It was the news that many of the demonstrators have been waiting to hear – many of the demonstrators, not all.  Some opposition politicians expressed disappointment and anger because their call is for Mr. Mubarak to step down immediately.  They had set a Friday deadline for his ouster.  The next elections in Egypt are in September.  Whether Mr. Mubarak’s announcement Tuesday night is enough to quell the demonstrations in the coming days remains to be seen.

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