Mubarak to quit, hand over power to military council: Official

February 11th, 2011 - 2:23 am ICT by IANS  

Cairo, Feb 11 (IANS) Embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will step down and transfer power to an armed forces panel, said a senior Egyptian official.Speculation was rife throughout Thursday that Mubarak, who has ruled the country since the past nearly 30 years, will be leaving following intense protests across the country. The protests in downtown Cairo’s Tahrir square entered the 17th day Thursday, with defiant protesters refusing to budge till Mubarak leaves.

The senior Egyptian official told Fox News Thursday that Mubarak will step down shortly and transfer authority to the Egyptian Higher Council of the Armed Forces.

The council comprises defence minister, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi along with the military’s chief of staff, the chief of operations, and commanders of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Air Defenses.

The transfer of power will take place “outside of the constitutional framework” since under the Egyptian constitution, Mubarak’s resignation would otherwise have meant that the speaker of the house would become president.

The source said that now the military council will “not be governing under the constitution or any legislation”.

“So they will have to define the format under which they are taking power.”

Although unaware as to how long the military would reign or what mechanism will be in place to end the military’s administration of power, the source said “when (the transfer of power from Mubarak) does happen, they will presumably indicate the direction of the country”.

Drawing parallels with the 1952 army coup and the removal of King Faroukh, the source said that it took six months before the monarchy was dissolved and the modern republic formed.

This marks “a moment of grave magnitude for the national security of Egypt”, Fox News quoted the source as saying.

Expressing doubt that the Egyptian president would be prosecuted after leaving office,, the source said: “No specific allegations of wrongdoing have been made against him.”

The official said the “constant requests for more measures, to be undertaken more quickly, more rapidly … the constant push” and “lack of recognition” for the reform measures being undertaken in good faith - all conspired to create a “national consensus” in Egypt that forced Mubarak’s ouster, Fox News said.

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