Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced he is handing his powers over to his vice president, Omar Suleiman, and ordered constitutional amendments. But the move means he retains his title of president and ensures regime control over the reform process, falling short of protester demands.
Protesters in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square, hoping he would announce his resignation outright, watched in stunned silence to his speech, slapping their hands to their foreheads in anger, some crying or waving their shoes in the air in a sign of contempt. After he finished, they resumed their chants of “Leave! Leave! Leave!”
“I have seen that it is required to delegate the powers and authorties of the president to the vice president as dictated in the constitution,” Mubarak said near the end of a 15-minute address on state TV. The article is used to transfer powers if the president is “temporarily” unable to carry out his duties and does not mean his resignation.
Mubarak said that the demands of protesters are just and legitimate. He said he had requested six constitutional amendments to answer protesters’ reform demands and that he would lift hated emergency laws — but with the caveat, when security permitted, a promise that his vice president made earlier this week but was dismissed by protesters.