Mubarak Hands Over Power to Egypt VP, but Won't Step Down

Egypt president says he will not leave Egypt despite transfer of power to Omar Suleiman, who says he is committed to peaceful power transfer.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Thursday in a live address on Egyptian TV that he is transferring power to Vice President Omar Suleiman, but is not resigning from his official position as president of Egypt.

mubarak - Reuters - February 10 2011

Mubarak said he would transfer power to Suleiman to prove that the demands of protesters will be met by dialogue.

He said he would not leave Egypt and the country would remain above the individual.

Mubarak said he had requested six constitutional amendments, answering one of the demands of the protesters. He said he would lift hated emergency laws when security permitted.

Mubarak reaffirmed that he will not run in elections in September, and said that those who died during the Egypt protests did not die in vain, adding that he felt the pain of those who had lost family members.

Saying he was addressing the people in Tahrir Square and the nation, Mubarak said he believed in the honesty of the demands of the protesters and their intentions.

Omar Suleiman, speaking on Thursday after President Hosni Mubarak handed him presidential powers, said he was committed to doing everything possible to ensure a peaceful transfer of power.

He said he was committed to achieving people's demands through dialogue, which had started and agreed on a road map.

Anti-Mubarak protests had escalated in the past two days with labor strikes and revolts by state employees that added to the chaos, and in a sign of the government's distress, top officials were warning of a coup or the imposition of martial law.

The military's supreme council, headed by Defense Minster Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, appeared to hold the reins of leadership.

Footage on state TV showed Tantawi chairing the council with around two dozen top stern-faced army officers seated around a table. Not at the meeting were Mubarak, the military commander in chief, or his vice president Omar Suleiman, a former army general and intelligence chief named to his post after the protests erupted Jan. 25.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak

Mubarak has been buffeted by widespread protests against poverty, repression and corruption that broke out last month in an unprecedented display of frustration at his autocratic rule.

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets to demand that Mubarak quit and clashes between protesters and security forces have killed at least 300 people.

Mubarak has clung on to power, promising to step down in September, but that was not enough to end the uprising.

Military officials said the armed forces' supreme council has been meeting all day long and will issue a communiqué shortly that they say will meet the protesters' demands.