- North Africa
- Politics - Demonstration - Governance
Egypt: Pride to determine Mubarak’s departure
Embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak might not step down immediately because he has to salvage his reputation after a 30 year police state regime, and avoid a complete loss of power.
According to some analysts what is really at stake is an old man’s pride, which has been insulted by the demands that he should step aside. Experts say he will go, but it will be in his own time. Observers believe President Mubarak is in the process of standing down; it is just taking a bit of time.
Mubarak would avoid ending up like Tunisia’s Ben Ali, he would need an opportunity to step down with some dignity, pride and power. His declaration that he would not seek re-election in September is as good as him standing down.
Egyptian PM Ahmed Shafiq agrees with this premise saying that: "In effect, the president has stepped down already," Mr Shafiq said. "We need him during these nine months."
There is, however, no easy concession which would satisfy the protesters’ demand for change, with Mubarak’s military backers’ craving to maintain their influence and power and find an honorable exit for the president.
While demonstrators continue to chant: "Leave! Leave! Leave!” singing patriotic songs and waving flags, Mubarak continues to hold on, dreading an end similar to that of ex-Tunisian dictator Ben Ali.
While the importance of finding an opportune time for Mubarak to step down with some pride remains key, some analysts believe that events on Friday at the Tahrir Square in the centre of Cairo, where unprecedented numbers of Egyptians thronged to demand his departure, would play a key role in the unfolding revolution in Egypt.
Observers believe that Mubarak gained some pride holding unto his position after more than 100,000 people gathered in the centre of Cairo on Friday for what was being called the "day of departure". His failure to leave after the “day of departure” saves Mubarak some face, and many believe it is such opportunities that allow him to show power and pride and enhance his decision to quit. Otherwise, Mubarak would be immovable.
U.S President Barrack Obama has not insisted that Mubarak should step down immediately, but repeated his call for a "transition period that begins now".
"He needs to listen to what is voiced by the people and make a judgment about a pathway forward that is orderly, that is meaningful and serious. The key question he should be asking himself is: how do I leave a legacy behind in which Egypt is able to get through this transformative period? My hope is he will end up making the right decision," Obama was quoted as saying.
The opposition has so far refused to attend any talks on a future government unless President Mubarak steps down. The government’s call for protesters to go home for talks to be held have fallen on deaf ears. Mubarak said on Thursday that Egypt would be faced with chaos if he resigned now, though he has promised to step down in September.
So far, the UN believes more than 300 have died across Egypt since the protests began on 25 January, with about 4,000 wounded.