How will the dust settle in Egypt's transition

CAIRO Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:35pm IST

Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman talks to representatives from political parties in the Prime Minister's office in Cairo February 6, 2011. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman talks to representatives from political parties in the Prime Minister's office in Cairo February 6, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Asmaa Waguih

Related Topics

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is on the verge of capitulating to protester demands to give up power but may still seek to hold on in a nominal capacity by giving presidential powers to his deputy or a joint leadership involving an army council.

The army made the first move, with an announcement called "Communique No. 1", saying the army's higher council was meeting in continuous session, a move that showed the army had taken charge of the situation and Mubarak's fate was in its hands.

Footage of the council showed Defence Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi and other senior officers meeting in the absence of both Mubarak and Vice President Omar Suleiman

The two obvious options are:

* Mubarak hands over powers to Suleiman, while staying nominally president. But this may not appease the protesters who want Mubarak and his allies out. The army may also be wary, because they do not want to confront angry demonstrators.

* Mubarak could hand powers to Suleiman and also empower the higher military council to oversee the transition. This could also come up against those demonstrators chanting: "Civilian, civilian, we don't want it military."

But the army is seen by many as a neutral force, so many Egyptians might support this.

In any of these two cases, one analyst said Mubarak would almost certainly have to announce martial law to bypass constitutional procedures and move straight to setting a new constitution and calling for elections.

The Muslim Brotherhood, seen as Egypt's biggest organised opposition group, has said it is concerned by developments because it "looks like a military coup". Other protesters may object to a move that hands power from one military ruler to another.

But the military is unlikely to accept an alternative route that puts them on the sidelines and ends their almost six decades of control of Egypt since King Farouk was toppled by Gamal Abdel Nasser and the "Free Officers" in 1952.

(Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

IRAQ

Reuters Showcase

Ukraine Aid

Ukraine Aid

Russia says Ukraine aid delivered to its destination.  Full Article 

Bali Murder

Bali Murder

Indonesian police to keep Bali suitcase murder suspects apart.  Full Article 

Urging Talks

Urging Talks

Palestinian president calls for swift resumption of Gaza peace talks.  Full Article 

Ebola Threat

Ebola Threat

Philippines recalls peacekeepers from Liberia over Ebola threat.  Full Article 

Gaza Bombed

Gaza Bombed

Israeli aircraft bomb Gaza, five Palestinians killed.  Full Article 

Rising Toll

Rising Toll

Documented death toll in syria war at least 191,369 through April 2014 - U.N.  Full Article 

Tensions Ease

Tensions Ease

National Guard begins pullout from riot-weary Ferguson, Missouri.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage