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Fallout after Mubarak, New leadership resists pressure from activists to hand power to civil admin
CAIRO/ WASHINGTON, FEB 12 (AGENCIES/IANS):
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Published on 13 Feb. 2011 12:41 AM IST
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Egypt’s new military administration and the pro-democracy protesters who brought down Hosni Mubarak were at odds Saturday over the path to democratic rule.
The army sought to stave off pressure from jubilant protesters to swiftly hand power to a civilian-led administration by saying that it is committed to a “free democratic state”.
The military leadership gave no timetable for the political transition, and many of the demonstrators who filled Cairo’s Tahrir square for 18 days rejected the military’s appeal to dismantle the barricades and go home.
They said they were waiting for specific commitments from the military on their demand for a civilian-controlled interim administration, the lifting of the oppressive state of emergency and other steps toward political liberalisation.
Some of the organisers of Egypt’s revolution announced they had formed a council to negotiate with the military and to oversee future demonstrations to keep up the pressure on the army to meet the demand for rapid democratic change.
“The council will have the authority to call for protests or call them off depending on how the situation develops,” said Khaled Abdel Qader Ouda, one of the organisers.
The military council also sought to allay American and Israeli concerns by saying that Egypt will continue to respect international treaties it has signed. Israeli politicians had expressed concern that a new government in Cairo might abrogate the 1979 peace accord between the two countries.
After Egypt, winds of change blowing through six nations
Here is a brief on the six other nations where the people’s revolt has been emblematic.
Tunisia: The northernmost country in Africa is where it all started, reports the Christian Science Monitor. When Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire in December, he didn’t intend to spark a regional upheaval. In a matter of days, then-president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled the country. Tunisia is now trying to cobble together a provisional government to lead the country until it can hold its first free election later this year.
Algeria: Demonstrators gathered in the capital Algiers Saturday for a pro-democracy march, a day after protesters in Egypt forced out their longtime president. Algerians protesting against the rule of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is reportedly frustrated over poverty and a lack of basic freedoms.
Yemen: President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced in an emergency meeting Wednesday that he would not run for re-election in the 2013 presidential elections. Protesters said they want to see implementation of the promised reforms happen before they call down the protests.
Jordan: In response to periodic protests in Jordan, King Abdullah II sacked his entire cabinet Tuesday and called for the formation of a new government. He said the new government will be required to implement reforms, though many Jordanians are skeptical about meaningful change. It seems unlikely that the protests mean an end for the king, as criticism has largely focused on other members of government and left Abdullah largely untouched.
Syria: Although no protests have yet materialised in Syria, there have been murmurings, and a drive on Facebook to organise a “day of rage”. Syrians say they want greater freedom and civil rights. According to The Globe and Mail, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says he is not worried that the discontent could lead to trouble for him and his government because his beliefs are aligned with those of the Syrian people.
Sudan: Not only is Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir likely to lose a huge chunk of territory in a few months, as the South secedes from the North following the recent referendum, but he is also facing protests in the capital Khartoum that stem from economic and political discontent.

 
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