Egypt Ruling Party Leadership Resigns; Obama Backs Gradual Transition

02/05/2011 11:39 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • AP/The Huffington Post

CAIRO - State TV says the top leadership body of Egypt's ruling party, including the president's son Gamal Mubarak and the party secretary-general Safwat el-Sharif, resigned Saturday in a new gesture apparently aimed at convincing anti-government protesters that the regime is serious about reform.

Protesters have shrugged off other concessions by the regime in the past 12 days of unprecedented street demonstrations, saying they will settle for nothing less than the immediate ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's ruler for nearly 30 years.

State TV said the ruling party's six-member Steering Committee of the General Secretariat stepped down and was replaced. The council was the party's highest decision-making body, and el-Sharif and other outgoing members were some of the most powerful -- and to many Egyptians, unpopular -- political figures in the regime.

El-Sharif was replaced by Hossam Badrawi, a party figure who had been sidelined within its ranks in recent years because of his sharp criticisms of some policies.

The new appointments to the body were largely young figures, one of the replacements Mohammed Kamal told The Associated Press. "It's a good change. It reflects the mood of change that is sweeping the country," he said.

Gamal Mubarak, who was a member of the Steering Committee, was widely seen as being groomed by his father Hosni Mubarak to succeed him as president. But Vice President Omar Suleiman promised earlier in the week that Gamal would not run for president in elections due in September.

The younger Mubarak was also head of the party's powerful policies committee, where for the past decade he led a campaign of economic liberalization. State TV said Gamal was also removed from that post and replaced by Badrawi.

The announcement was greeted with scorn by some of the tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Wael Khalil, a 45-year-old activist, said it would "reinforce their (protesters') resolve and increase their confidence because it shows that they are winning, and the regime is retreating inch by inch."

Have a tip you want to share? You can leave a message for HuffPost at 00-1-315-636-0962. If you know someone there and have email access, send us an email at egypt@huffingtonpost.com. Our Skype account is HuffPostReports.

02/14/2011 4:24 PM EST

Somali Preacher Urges Egypt-Style Revolt

Ahram Online reports:
A spiritual leader of Somalia's Islamist Shebab rebels called for popular Egypt- and Tunisia-style revolts to topple the government.

Sheikh Jama Abdusalam said such uprisings would rid the war-wracked country of a government that he accused of serving Western interests.

"I am urging the people to carry out Egyptian- and Tunisian-style uprisings in Somalia," Abdusalam told Alfurqaan Radio, a Shebab mouthpiece.

Read more here.

02/14/2011 4:21 PM EST

Clinton To Egyptians 'Don't Let Anyone Hijack The Process'

@ AlArabiya_Eng : Clinton to Alarabiya: I say to egyptians: don't let anyone hijack the process #alarabiya #Iran #Egypt #clinton

02/14/2011 4:20 PM EST

Egypt Summary: Today's Events

Egypt's military rulers called for an end to strikes and protests Monday as thousands of state employees, from ambulance drivers to police and transport workers, demonstrated to demand better pay in a growing wave of labor unrest unleashed by the democracy uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak's regime.

The statement by the ruling military council that took power from Mubarak appeared to be a final warning to protest organizers in labor and professional unions before the army intervenes and imposes an outright ban on gatherings, strikes and sit-ins.

Soldiers cleared out almost all the remaining demonstrators from Cairo's Tahrir Square, the giant traffic circle that was turned into a protest camp headquarters for the 18-day revolt. During more than two weeks of round-the-clock demonstrations at the square, protesters set up tents, brought in blankets, operated medical clinics and festooned the entire plaza with giant banners demanding removal of the regime.

Read more here.

02/14/2011 3:51 PM EST

'Rumors' Of More Deaths In Bahrain

The Guardian reports:
There are rumours – and let us stress, just rumours at this point – of more deaths in Bahrain following today's protests.

02/14/2011 3:48 PM EST

France Asked To Freeze Assets Of Egypt Officials

@ felix85 : France says Egypt asks it to freeze possible assets of ex-officials, adding to UK and Germany already today

02/14/2011 2:59 PM EST

Yemen Protests Continue After Concessions By Regime

Ahram Online reports:

A crowd of about 3,000 protesters, mainly lawyers and students, tried to march from Sanaa University to Al-Tahrir square in the city centre, where [Yemen President] Saleh's supporters have been camped since last week, but were prevented by security forces who erected barbed wire, witnesses reported.

In a move to manage the situation President Saleh halted constitutional procedures which may have allowed him to assume the presidency for life, and possibly pave the way for his son, the chief of the Republican Guard, to succeed him.

02/14/2011 2:50 PM EST

Protester In Bahrain Reported Killed By Security Forces

The Guardian reports:

A major development in Bahrain where there are reports that one person has been killed by security forces during a protest:

According to sources in the hospital, and confirmed by Nabeel Rajab from a Bahraini human rights organisation, Ali Abdulhadi al-Mushaima, 27, was shot in the back with live ammunition. Protesters are incensed.

02/14/2011 2:43 PM EST

Dozens Of Iran Protest Clips On YouTube

@ thelede : Live Update: Dozens of Iran Protest Clips on YouTube http://nyti.ms/dG1C5M #Egypt #Bahrain #Iran

02/14/2011 2:42 PM EST

Egypt’s Ruling Generals Meet With Opposition

The New York Times reports:

Two generals sat down Sunday night to talk about their country’s future with seven of the revolution’s young organizers — including the Google marketing executive Wael Ghonim — and the young activists posted their notes on the meeting directly to the Internet for the Egyptian public to see.

“We all sensed a sincere desire to preserve the gains of the revolution and unprecedented respect for the right of young people to express their views,” two of the young organizers, Mr. Ghonim and Amr Salama, wrote in their Facebook posting, with the disclaimer that they were speaking only for themselves. They noted that the generals spoke without any of the usual “parental tone (you do not know what is good for you, son),” and called the encounter “the first time an Egyptian official sat down to listen more than speak.”

Read more here.

02/14/2011 2:22 PM EST

Al Jazerra: Clashes Reported In Iran Protests

@ AJEnglish : Clashes reported in Iran protests: Pro-reformist marches under way in Tehran despite a heavy security presence a... http://aje.me/fqbkTi