ElBaradei asks Mubarak to quit

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Cairo, Jan 30 (PTI) Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel peacelaureate and former chief of the UN nuclear watchdog, hasasked embattled President Hosni Mubarak to step down, sayinghis response to the mass protest against his 30-year rule inEgypt was "disappointing".

Speaking to Al Jazeera TV, Elbaradei who has beenplaced under house arrest, said the nation will collapse ifMubarak stays.

He asked 82-year-old Egyptian leader, who was reportedto be in poor health, to set a framework for transition ofpower as the only way to end street unrests that have rockedEgypt.

ElBaradei told Al Jazeera in a phone interviewyesterday that Mubarak''s speech on Friday, in which he said hewould form a new government, was "disappointing" forEgyptians.

He said Egypt needs an entirely different system ofgovernance today.

Mubarak has clung to power despite mounting pressureto quit as the situation in the world''s most populous Arabnation deteriorated.

The President last night named intelligence chiefand his close confidante Omar Suleiman as Vice President forthe first time in his 30-year rule.

He also chose aviation minister Ahmed Shafiq as newprime minister, hours after sacking the Cabinet and promisingdemocratic and economic reforms. Shafiq, a former chief of AirStaff, has often been mooted as a potential successor toMubarak.

Late on Friday night, ElBaradei was placed under housearrest amid mounting opposition to Mubarak''s despotic rule astens of thousands of anti-government protesters clashed withpolice in several cities in Egypt.

ElBaradei was was confined to his residence asunprecedented countrywide protests turned violent.

68-year-old ElBaradei, one of Mubarak�s fiercestcritics, who returned to his homeland on Thursday to lead theprotests, claimed that his regime was on its "last legs".

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

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

Several thousand people had also been injured, amidreports that more and more armymen were joining the protestsagainst Mubarak.

Thousands of protesters defied the curfew for thesecond night and Cairo''s central Tahrir (Liberation) Squareremained filled with protesters.

Protesters yesterday also tried to storm theInterior Ministry in central Cairo.

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