Hosni Mubarak Steps Down, Retreats to Sharm el-Sheikh
Hosni Mubarak Steps Down as President of Egypt
Hosni Mubarak will step down. The announcement comes not even a day after a defiant statement in which Mubarak said he would rather die than give up the presidency. After weeks of protests, Egypt is entering a new chapter in its history.
Currently the army is in control of the country. The announcement that Mubarak would step down was made by Vice President Omar Suleiman.
This is an exciting and scary moment for Egypt: for the first time, the country is not controlled by a dictator or outside interests. While CNN is reporting that the people are calling the shots, that's not entirely true: technically the military is now in charge. While the military has stated that it sides with the people and will only hold power in a caretaker capacity, it's too early to tell what transition of power will look like.
Ultimately, the "soft coup" threat turned out to be prescient: the military basically turned on Mubarak, leaving him with no option but to step down or possibly face a slightly harder coup. Tanks turned aside their water cannons as crowds made their way to the Presidential Palace, sending a signal that the army was indeed siding with everyday Egyptians.
Where is Mubarak?
Hosni Mubarak had left Cairo for Sharm el-Sheikh, a resort town in Sinai. Mubarak left for Sharm el-Sheikh shortly after yesterday's speech. He will likely have to leave Egypt and never return.
What Now for Egypt?
Now that Mubarak has stepped aside, an interim government will have to be formed. Whoever assumes power, both in the short term and the long term, will have to have popular support.The cat is now out of the bag: a populace can depose a dictator in the Middle East, and do so in a nonviolent way.
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