Al Jazeera English, Reuters, MSNBC, and other media outlets are reporting that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will announce shortly that he will not seek “re-election” in September’s national election.
Earlier today, Turkey’s president, Tayyip Erdogan, urged Mubarak hasten his departure from leadership. The White House, seemingly still playing catch-up, has (according to AJE and the New York Times) told Mubarak he should not run in September.
Given the tide of events, it is hard to imagine this “concession” on behalf of Mubarak will satisfy the large and growing number of protestors that still fill the streets and squares of most of Egypt’s major cities.
We will update as events develop.
Jack Shenker, for the Guardian, is in Tahrir Square, where he says there is a festival atmosphere. He asked people if Mubarak, who is expected to speak any minute, announcing his intention to step down at the next election, in September, would be enough. He said the “overwhelming consensus is that is absolutely not enough.”
Jack told me (apologies for the quality of the recording):
They are really fired up, they’re really emboldened by the fact that, assuming Mubarak announces this, they’ve secured a major concession from him and it’s only spurred them on to continue the protests and stick it out till the bitter end.
Update: (10:57pm Egyptian time) Mubarak has begun his speech. It starts with a similar tone to his last late night appearance–a rambling review of the week as he sees it.
Mubarak complains that the opposition will not engage his offer of dialogue, so he is addressing the people directly now. His responsibility is to restore security of Egypt, and provide for peaceful transition.
Mubarak swears that he never intended to run for another term, but he is committed to serving till the end of his current term.
He “instructs” the police to carry out their duties, but respect the dignity of the people–but also calls for the “arrest of the outlaws,” by which he says he means the looters.
Reiterates that he will continue in office for “remaining months.”
Refers to himself in the third person: “Hosni Mubarak, who is addressing you today. . . .”
The speech ends with Mubarak swearing he will die on Egyptian soil–which I believe to be him standing pat and refusing to flee, as opposed to any prediction of his imminent demise.
Update: Reaction to Mubarak’s speech by the crowd in the Cairo’s Tahrir Square: “Leave, leave,” and “not enough, not enough.”