MAYBE MUBARAK MISSED THE SUBTLETIES OF THE PROTESTORS’ MESSAGE…. Egyptian protestors obviously want their autocratic president, Hosni Mubarak, to step down immediately. In a late-night broadcast, he seems to have gotten only part of the message.
President Hosni Mubarak announced that he would not run for another term in elections scheduled for the fall, appearing on state television to promise an orderly transition but said he would serve out his term. In comments translated by CNN, he swore that he would die in Egypt.
Television cameras showed the vast crowds gathered in central Tahrir Square in Cairo roaring, but not necessarily in approval. The protesters have made the president’s immediate and unconditional resignation a bedrock demand of their movement, and it did not appear that the concession would mollify them.
Well, no. They want his ouster now, and don’t necessarily trust the integrity of free elections later this year.
Nevertheless, the announcement is a major development, apparently precipitated by President Obama telling Mubarak, though a veteran diplomatic envoy, that the Egyptian president’s tenure had to come to an end. Obama, according to reports, did not demand Mubarak’s immediate departure, but rather, urged him to clear the way for a reform process.
The NYT noted that President Obama’s move today “appeared to tip the administration beyond the delicate balancing act it has performed in the last week.”
Still, the question is how to satisfy the demands of Egyptians who’ve taken to the streets, and the latest Mubarak address won’t, by all appearances, cut it. Reports now indicate that protestors will move to the presidential palace later this week, raising the prospect of a potentially violent showdown.