Mubarak, son Gamal quit leadership of ruling party: report


Cairo, Feb 5 (PTI) Embattled President Hosni Mubarakand his son Gamal today quit the leadership of Egypt''s rulingparty in a new gesture to convince anti-government protestersthat the regime is serious about political reform.

State TV said the top leadership body of Egypt''sruling party, including party secretary-general Safwatel-Sharif, resigned.

Protesters have shrugged off other concessions by theregime in the past 12 days of unprecedented streetdemonstrations, saying they will settle for nothing less thanthe immediate ouster of the embattled president who has ruledfor nearly 30 years.

According to state TV, the ruling party''ssix-member Steering Committee of the General Secretariatstepped down and was replaced. The council was the party''shighest decision-making body, and el-Sharif and other outgoingmembers were some of the most powerful.

El-Sharif has been replaced by Hossam Badrawi, a partyfigure who had been sidelined within its ranks.

Gamal Mubarak, a member of the Steering Committee,has been seen as being groomed by his father to succeedhim as president.

Omar Suleiman, the Vice President promised last weekthat Gamal would not run for president in elections duein September.

Uncertainty and tension gripped Egypt withinternational clamour growing on beleaguered President to handover power immediately as saboteurs blew up a key gas pipelineto Israel adding a fresh dimension to the 12-day old crisisin the Arab nation.

As unprecedented protests raged at the famous TahrirSquare in central Cairo, the state TV reported "dangerousexplosions continuing from one spot to another" in the mainsource of gas supplying pipeline in El Arish.

With no let up in protests fury, President Mubarak,who appeared increasingly cornered, held a meeting of his newcabinet to revive the economy and project calm in the face ofthe increasing turmoil.

The meeting was attended by Egypt''s new Prime MinisterAhmed Shafiq as well as the central bank governor and theministers of petroleum, social solidarity, trade and industry,and finance. PTI

The top executive of the ruling National DemocraticParty, which includes the embattled president''s son GamalMubarak who is head of the powerful policies committee,resigned on masse on day 12 of mass protests against hisregime, state television said.

"The members of the executive committee resigned fromtheir posts," it said.

It said Badrawi, prominent physician who is reputed tohave good relations with opposition figures, would take overas NDP secretary general and political bureau chief. PTI

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