ElBaradei asks Mubarak to quit

Last Updated: Sunday, January 30, 2011 - 21:01

Cairo: Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel peace
laureate and former chief of the UN nuclear watchdog, has
asked embattled President Hosni Mubarak to step down, saying
his response to the mass protest against his 30-year rule in
Egypt was "disappointing".

Speaking to Al Jazeera TV, Elbaradei who has been
placed under house arrest, said the nation will collapse if
Mubarak stays.

He asked 82-year-old Egyptian leader, who was reported
to be in poor health, to set a framework for transition of
power as the only way to end street unrests that have rocked
Egypt.

ElBaradei told Al Jazeera in a phone interview
yesterday that Mubarak`s speech on Friday, in which he said he
would form a new government, was "disappointing" for
Egyptians.

He said Egypt needs an entirely different system of
governance today.

Mubarak has clung to power despite mounting pressure
to quit as the situation in the world`s most populous Arab
nation deteriorated.

The President last night named intelligence chief
and his close confidante Omar Suleiman as Vice President for
the first time in his 30-year rule.

He also chose aviation minister Ahmed Shafiq as new
prime minister, hours after sacking the Cabinet and promising
democratic and economic reforms. Shafiq, a former chief of Air
Staff, has often been mooted as a potential successor to
Mubarak.

Late on Friday night, ElBaradei was placed under house
arrest amid mounting opposition to Mubarak`s despotic rule as
tens of thousands of anti-government protesters clashed with
police in several cities in Egypt.

ElBaradei was was confined to his residence as
unprecedented countrywide protests turned violent.

68-year-old ElBaradei, one of Mubarak’s fiercest
critics, who returned to his homeland on Thursday to lead the
protests, claimed that his regime was on its "last legs".

The violent protests against Mubarak autocratic
regime, which began on Tuesday, have so far left at least 102
people dead, including 33 who were killed yesterday, the
reports said.

In the deadliest day of protests on Friday, 62 people
were killed, including 35 in Cairo. Seven people were killed
on Tuesday and Wednesday in Cairo and the canal city of Suez.

Several thousand people had also been injured, amid
reports that more and more armymen were joining the protests
against Mubarak.

Thousands of protesters defied the curfew for the
second night and Cairo`s central Tahrir (Liberation) Square
remained filled with protesters.

Protesters yesterday also tried to storm the
Interior Ministry in central Cairo.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, January 30, 2011 - 21:01

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