Victory, but for whom?
CAIRO — Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak is to step down after 17 days of pro-democracy protests, two sources told NBC News on Thursday.
Following an all-day meeting of the country’s supreme military council, the army said all the protesters’ demands would be met and a further statement was expected to be made later Thursday, clarifying the situation.
Mubarak was expected to formally announce his departure in an address to the nation tonight.
NBC News said a high-ranking source inside the president’s office said that Mubarak would step down and the newly appointed vice president, Omar Suleiman, would take over. This was then confirmed by a second source.
The Secretary-General of the ruling NDP party, Dr Hossam Badrawi, told the U.K’s Channel 4 News that he was expecting Mubarak to stand aside in his televised address.
(ABC News) — Egypt’s Army Chief of Staff waded into the jubilant crowd of protesters in Egypt’s Tahrir Square today and told them cryptically, “All your demands will be met tonight.”
When asked by ABC News whether that meant that President Hosni Mubarak would leave office, Army Chief of Staff Sami Eman replied, “It ends tonight.”
The crowd around Eman erupted in a roar of cheers and began singing the national anthem.
Update II: Looks like Suleiman might be getting the shaft.
(Fox News) — President Hosni Mubarak will step down shortly and transfer authority to the Egyptian Higher Council of the Armed Forces, a senior Egyptian official confirmed to Fox News on Thursday.
The group is comprised of the minister of defense, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi — who stands atop the military hierarchy — along with the military’s chief of staff, the chief of operations, and commanders of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Air Defenses.
The source pointed out that the transfer of power will occur “outside of the constitutional framework” because under the Egyptian constitution, Mubarak’s resignation ordinarily would mean that the speaker of the house would become president and elections would be held within 60 days. In this case, the military council will “not be governing under the constitution or any legislation,” the source noted. “So they will have to define the format under which they are taking power.”
The source did not know how long the military would reign nor what mechanism or timetable would be put in place to end the military’s administration of power, but said that “when (the transfer of power from Mubarak) does happen, they will presumably indicate the direction of the country.”
The source drew parallels with the Army coup of 1952, and the removal of King Faroukh, noting that it took six months before the monarchy was dissolved and the modern republic formed.