Millions of protesters across Egypt now need new signs.
Thirty years of Mubarak's dictatorship collapsed today after 18 days of defiance, with hundreds dead and thousands wounded. "Anything now seems possible," one pro-democracy activist told Al Jazeera English. "I'm so proud."
Vice President Omar Suleiman took to the airwaves just after the 6:00 p.m. call to prayer to announce the resignation of former President Hosni Mubarak. In his brief statement, Suleiman said that President Mubarak is "waiving" his office and has asked the armed forces to rule the country.
Under the Egyptian constitution, the president's resignation mandates elections within two months. Suleiman previously stated that Egyptian democracy first requires "the culture of democracy." What that means, and whether the military will endorse Suleiman's previous warning has yet to be seen. In his 20-second speech today, Suleiman made no mention of democracy or elections.
Another constitutional effect of Mubarak's resignation concerns further constitutional amendments that would foster free and fair elections. No one but the president may recommend constitutional amendments, as Mubarak did in his defiant speech yesterday. If no one ascends to the presidency under the present military rule, the six constitutional changes that Mubarak recommended in his defiant speech last night may be the final modifications to Egypt's constitution before elections. Those amendments were widely reported to fall short of protesters' demands, and may leave in tact severe handicaps to opposition parties running for office in the coming months.
The military's statement, released earlier today, indicates that it will end a 30-years of state of emergency, used as a tool of repression under Mubarak, "as soon as the present circumstances are over." The military also indicated that it may exercise the president's authority to institute constitutional amendments.
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