Egypt's state television reported that the Vice President Omar Suleiman has said President Hosni Mubarak's son will not seek to succeed his father in elections later this year, marking the latest concession to anti-government protesters.
It was widely believed that Mubarak was grooming his son Gamal, 46, to succeed him despite significant public opposition.
Suleiman also said he will not put himself forward for the presidency either.
Suleiman pledged to punish all those involved in causing violence and to release youths detained in anti-government protests who had not been involved in violence.
The announcements were made in headline bars at the bottom of the screen of Egypt state television.
Gamal Mubarak's chances of assuming the presidency appeared to diminsh greatly when his father appointed Suleiman vice president last week, but the vice president's announcement was the first official indication that he would not run.
The last week and a half have seen throngs of Egyptians take to the streets in what observers are calling the largest anti-government protest movement to sweep the country in the last quarter-century. Demonstrators are calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, who has served in that capacity for over 29 years.
Egyptian security services have tried to stem the wave of unrest, to little avail. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said on Tuesday she had unconfirmed reports that up to 300 people may have been killed and over 3,000 injured in the unrest that has engulfed Egypt.
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