Multiple outlets are reporting that Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak is anticipated to make an announcement on state television this evening; it’s not clear whether he will say he is stepping down.
The Egyptian Military Council is meeting right now, without Mubarak; there has been a statement from the military released. Sources indicate the statement acknowledges the legitimacy of the protesters’ demands.
According to the BBC, the secretary general of the National Democratic Party (NDP) Hossan Badrawi said he hopes Mubarak will transfer power to Vice President Omar Suleiman soon.
[Developing. Updates soon.]
(additional reporting for this post from Siun & Gregg)
UPDATE: MSNBC reports two sources inside the Egyptian government say that Mubarak is stepping down and handing power to Suleiman. They are calling it a “military coup”–in other words, the military is making the decision about the succession of power to the VP instead of the PM, as the Egyptian constitution reportedly proscribes.
UPDATE 2: From the New York Times:
Egypt’s armed forces on Thursday announced that they had begun to take “necessary measures to protect the nation and support the legitimate demands of the people,” a step that suggested the military intends to take a commanding role in administrating the strife-torn nation.
. . . .
Television images on Al Jazeera showed the masses in Tahrir Square cheering the news, waving flags and chanting: “The Army and the people in one hand.”
Vice President Omar Suleiman, named by Mr. Mubarak to undertake a dialogue with opposition groups, had warned Tuesday night that if the process he was supervising did not produce results, the military would step in to take administrative control in what he called a “coup.” There was no information about what role Mr. Suleiman or Mr. Mubarak would play in a military government.
UPDATE 3: David has more:
There’s still confusion, then, whether Suleiman will receive the powers of the Presidency, or the army. For days, the Mubarak regime has insisted that his resignation would trigger an election within 60 days, so I would expect something other than a formal resignation, something that would keep elections in the future. That could be a temporary imposition of martial law.
Suleiman’s ascension would likely not end the protests. According to the Guardian’s liveblog, one protester reacted to that possibility by saying “all that will happen is that everyone in Tahrir will rewrite their signs, and then carry on demonstrating.”
The speech should happen in a matter of hours…
UPDATE 4: Al Arabiya (via Breaking News) reports: “President Mubarak has traveled to Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh with his army chief of staff.”
UPDATE 5: Al Jazeera reports that Egyptian State TV has evacuated its Cairo building.