Monday, February 07, 2011

Egypt protests: Hosni Mubarak’s power fades as US backs his deputy

Omar Suleiman’s call for orderly reform wins backing of Hillary Clinton on day senior members of ruling NDP resign

Julian Borger in Munich and Chris McGreal in Cairo

The Guardian, Feb 6, 2011

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton at the Munich Security Conference, where she backed Egypt vice-president Omar Suleiman’s call for orderly reform. Photograph: Jens Meyer/AP

America yesterday swung its support behind Egypt‘s vice-president, Omar Suleiman, and the political transition he is leading, calling for a process of orderly reform. The policy, made clear by Hillary Clinton at the Munich Security Conference, was the latest sign of steps by the US and senior members of the Egyptian military to nudge President Hosni Mubarak aside and contain the potential for street violence.

The move came as senior members of the leadership of the ruling National Democratic party resigned from the party in response to the protests. They included Mubarak’s powerful son, Gamal, long expected to succeed his father. A relative liberal, Hossam Badrawi, was appointed the party’s new secretary general.

The mass resignation, announced yesterday afternoon, is likely to be seen as a further sign of Mubarak’s weakness and will only strengthen the demands of protesters determined to topple him. It appeared to be part of a strategy agreed with the US to manage the transition, with or without Mubarak, as power shifts to Egypt’s vice-president, who is backed by the Americans to head the political transition.

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