As reports indicate that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is expected to step down today, Vancouver-based expert Paul Sedra said if the leader does resign, it may not lead to the regime change that demonstrators are calling for.
For more than two weeks, anti-government protestors have filled Tahrir Square in Cairo to call for Mubarak to step down from the presidency he has held for 30 years.
The leader is expected to appear on Egyptian television in the next hour. Many international media outlets are reporting that he is expected to resign and transfer power to vice-president Omar Suleiman.
But Sedra, a historian at Simon Fraser University who specializes in Egyptian politics, says if Mubarak transfers power to Suleiman, it will be a success for the demonstrators, but it won’t lead to a real regime change.
“Vice president Suleiman is a representative of the very same regime that Mubarak has created over the past 30 years,” he said.
“It would be a tremendously symbolic change, and a change that would indicate to the entire area that this people power that we see in the streets is real, it’s palpable and it’s extremely influential, but the real change would be a shift away from military rule in Egypt to civilian-led rule.”
Sedra noted if the protestors are successful in getting the president to resign, it will have significance for many countries in the region.
“There’s no question that the success of the demonstrators in dislodging the Egyptian dictator will have been a tremendous victory for democracy movements all over the region,” said Sedra.