Reports: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak may transfer power

Anti-government protesters continued to gather in Cairo's Tahrir Square and outside the Egyptian parliament Thursday, as demonstrations to demand the departure of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak showed no sign of abating. (Feb. 10)
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, February 10, 2011; 10:58 AM

CAIRO -- President Hosni Mubarak will meet the demands of protesters, military and ruling party officials, the Associated Press reported Thursday, in the strongest indication yet that Egypt's longtime president may be about to give up power.

The military's supreme council was meeting Thursday, without Mubarak, its commander in chief, and announced on state TV its "support of the legitimate demands of the people," AP said.

A spokesman said the council was in permanent session to explore "what measures and arrangements could be made to safeguard the nation, its achievements and the ambitions of its great people."

Gen. Hassan al-Roueini, military commander for the Cairo area, told thousands of protesters in central Tahrir Square, "All your demands will be met today."

But the atmosphere remained tense and uncertain, as top government officials remained vague or gave contradictory statements about Mubarak's future.

After the Army's statement, Shafiq, the prime minister, phoned into state television and said that he could neither confirm nor deny any changes at the top. "The president is in his position and we have not received any decision by him to indicate anything new," Shafiq said.

There was no word from Mubarak himself.

Meantime, revolutionary fervor tightened its grip on the country as doctors, lawyers, bus drivers and factory workers marched through the streets.

Hossan Badrawi, the newly appointed secretary general of the National Democratic Party, told the BBC that Mubarak "may be stepping down" and could give a televised address this evening.

Badrawi later appeared on Egyptian state television and acknowledged that the government was considering constitutional amendments, including one related to a "peaceful transfer of power." Asked if that involved Mubarak, Badrawi replied: "No, I don't have specific information. All I can do is offer predictions. And I would predict that that would be a good thing."

Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq also confirmed that discussions were underway at the highest levels of government about Mubarak ceding at least some of his authority.

Egyptian state television reported that the High Council of the Egyptian armed forces met Thursday afternoon and issued a statement, recognizing the "legitimate demands of the people." The armed forces said they would meet later to discuss "all the necessary measures to preserve the nation." The statement did not mention Mubarak and was not more specific, but it heightened anticipation that major changes were in the offing.

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