Contrary to the belief of Leon Panetta and many angry Egyptian citizens, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will not step down until a new leader is elected in the regularly scheduled September elections.
While Mubarak said he would begin to transfer power to his vice president, Omar Suleiman, he reiterated the announcement he is refusing to step down, ignoring the calls of the thousands of Egyptian protesters gathering in Cairo and surrounding cities.
There was heavy speculation that he would step down based on reports from Mubarak’s own party. Protesters celebrated this morning in the assumption that Mubarak’s speech would announce his resignation.
Popular opposition leader, Mohamed ElBardei, tweeted “I am closely following the situation. We are almost there,” just before Mubarak spoke.
Protesters gathered in Tahrir Square to listen to his speech expected him to announce his resignation, and became increasingly angry when it became obvious that he was not planning on stepping down. The protesters began to yell “get out, get out,” and “leave, leave” while waving their shoes in the air as an insult.
Mubarak did not reject the ideas of the protesters, saying that their demands were “legitimate,” but said “mistakes are likely in any regime” and that he would “admit mistakes.”
Suleiman called for the protesters to go home and go back to work, saying, “I call on all the citizens to look to the future. In our hands we can make a very bright future and be full of freedom and democracy.”
Mubarak also said Egypt “will not accept or listen to any foreign interventions or dictations,” implying that calls for his release were coming from foreign nations instead of from Egypt.
This comes after several days of Mubarak blaming the United States, Egypt and Hammas for the uprising, and blaming others for the uprising. At one point someone called into Al Jazeera falsely saying that over 75 percent of the protesters were foreign.