Mubarak Staying?

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This could be a case of the essence getting lost in the translation, but Mubark’s speech right now to the Egyptian people is coming off as the kind of long, rambling, unself-aware self justification that authoritarians lapse into.

For most of the speech it didn’t sound like Mubarak was going anywhere — then several minutes into it he announced he was delegating the powers of the presidency to Vice President Omar Suleiman. Whether he delegates all the powers or some of them — or core or ancillary powers — remains uncertain.

Not exactly clear where that leaves things, but it appears that Mubarak will serve out his term as head of state while Suleiman conducts the day to day business of the state.The New York Times lede:

President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt told the Egyptian people Thursday that he would delegate more authority to his vice president, Omar Suleiman, but that he would not resign his post, contradicting earlier reports that he would step aside and surprising hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered to hail his departure from the political scene.

From the BBC:

Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak has said he will stay in office and transfer all power only after September’s presidential election.

His comments in a national TV address confounded earlier reports that he was preparing to stand down immediately.

Mr Mubarak said he would delegate some powers to Vice-President Omar Suleiman, but would ignore “diktats from abroad”.

As our reporter Eric Lach just remarked in our staff Skype chat: “Rile up an anxious, squeezed crowd of thousands in the middle of the night–what could go wrong?”

Agence France-Presse:

Protesters in central Cairo’s Tahrir Square reacted with fury on Thursday when President Hosni Mubarak failed to announce his immediate resignation, demanding the army join them in revolt.

Hundreds of protesters took off their shoes and brandished them at the screen on which they had seen Mubarak’s speech, an insult in Arab societies, and others chanted: “Down with Mubarak, leave, leave!”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

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