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Egyptian President Mubarak Sacks Government, Will Stay in Power

Al Jazeera English screengrab of Mubarak making his statement. (Al Jazeera English has released photos and videos of Egyptian developments under a Creative Commons license)

In a defiant, out-of-touch speech on state television, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced in a late-night statement that he will ask the government to resign and install a new one tomorrow.  However, Mubarak will not resign or leave the country.  Many of the government ministers scheduled to be sacked have been in place a decade or more.

Mubarak’s speech seemed to try and put him on the side of the people, saying that he would not go backward on the political reforms instituted over the past several years. He said that violence was not the answer to the grievances of the youth in the streets (oh really?), and that he would “continue steadily” on these reforms. He said he had been following the demonstration closely, adn that the freedom of expression in Egypt would not be possible without him (!). He noted the fine line between freedom of expression and chaos, and said he understood the sufferings of the Egyptian people with corruption and lack of democracy. “I have requested the government to step down today, and I will designate a new government tomorrow,” he concluded.

Minutes after the speech, protesters in the street chanted “Down, down with Mubarak! Down, down with the regime!” This attempt to blame the government, which has no real force to institute changes without Mubarak’s consent, is clearly not being bought by the reformers.

David Axelrod will go on TV tonight and say that President Obama has “on several occasions directly confronted Pres. Mubarak … on the need for political reform.” He will reiterate the threat that future aid packages to Egypt will be reviewed based on the government’s actions in the next several days. Britain’s Daily Telegraph reports that America has secretly backed dissident leaders and democracy promotion in Egypt, based on several Wikileaks cables.

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Egyptian President Mubarak Sacks Government, Will Stay in Power

In a defiant, out-of-touch speech on state television, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced in a late-night statement that he will ask the government to resign and install a new one tomorrow. However, Mubarak will not resign or leave the country. Many of the government ministers scheduled to be sacked have been in place a decade or more.

Mubarak’s speech seemed to try and put him on the side of the people, saying that he would not go backward on the political reforms instituted over the past several years. He said that violence was not the answer to the grievances of the youth in the streets (oh really?), and that he would “continue steadily” on these reforms. He said he had been following the demonstration closely, adn that the freedom of expression in Egypt would not be possible without him (!). He noted the fine line between freedom of expression and chaos, and said he understood the sufferings of the Egyptian people with corruption and lack of democracy. “I have requested the government to step down today, and I will designate a new government tomorrow,” he concluded.

Minutes after the speech, protesters in the street chanted “Down, down with Mubarak! Down, down with the regime!” This attempt to blame the government, which has no real force to institute changes without Mubarak’s consent, is clearly not being bought by the reformers.

David Axelrod will go on TV tonight and say that President Obama has “on several occasions directly confronted Pres. Mubarak … on the need for political reform.” He will reiterate the threat that future aid packages to Egypt will be reviewed based on the government’s actions in the next several days. Britain’s Daily Telegraph reports that America has secretly backed dissident leaders and democracy promotion in Egypt, based on several Wikileaks cables.

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David Dayen

David Dayen