Egypt crisis: What role will Omar Suleiman play?
Egypt's Vice President Omar Suleiman, who addressed Egyptians after the televised speech of President Hosni Mubarak Thursday, urged Tahrir Square protesters to 'go home.' It is unclear how much power Suleiman now wields.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak today said he was apportioning a measure of power to his vice president, Omar Suleiman, in his latest attempt to quell weeks of demands for his resignation from protesters and growing pressure from Western governments. But debate is swirling over exactly how much authority he is ceding to his vice president.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Mr. Mubarak proclaimed in a TV address – in which many had expected him to announce his resignation – that he was staying at the helm until elections in September and would "not accept or listen to any foreign interventions or dictations."
“I think they’re just playing for time, and I’m worried that they’re setting the stage for the military to suddenly strike at us,” says Mohammed Hawas, a businessman who ran for president in 2005 and seeks to run again in September elections. “None of us should go home before the regime is swept away.”
While reports had swirled ahead of the speech that Mr. Suleiman would be taking Mubarak's place to lead the country through a political transition, the announcement tonight potentially sets Mubarak on a collision course with angry protesters.
Mubarak sees himself 'as the state'
After Mubarak's speech, Egypt's ambassador to the US, Sameh Shoukry, told CNN that Mr. Suleiman was now the "de facto" president: "President Mubarak transferred the powers of his presidency to his vice president." He added that Mubarak was the "de jure" president only.