Suleiman is ''de facto head of state'': Egyptian envoy to US

Lalit K Jha

Washington, Feb 11 (PTI) President Hosni Mubarak isnow "de jure head of the state" as he has transferred all hispowers to his Vice President Omar Suleiman who is now the "defacto head of state", Egyptian Ambassador to the US has said.

"President Mubarak has transferred the powers of thepresidency to his vice president, who now undertakes allauthorities as president. So we can say that the President isa de jure president, and the Vice President is the de factopresident," Egyptian Ambassador here Sameh Shoukry told CNN.

"The President (Mubarak) did say, indicate veryclearly, that he was transferring all his presidentialauthority to the vice president. He had done so after he hadreferred to the parliament the constitutional amendments uponwhich the political reform would proceed," he said.

However, Shoukry did not say that Mubarak is no longerthe president of the country.

"This is a constitutional issue which needs to beaddressed from a very specific legal, constitutionalperspective, not from a perspective of any form of spin," hesaid.

"The President has transferred his authority underArticle 82 of the constitution to the vice president toundertake all presidential authority that is incorporated inthe constitution. So, currently, the presidential powers areall bestowed in the person of the vice president," he said.

"Apparently, this process has been undertaken with adesire to maintain the legitimacy of the constitutionalprocess," he said.

Suleiman is now undertaking all authority of thepresidency under the constitution.

"The only three issues that the Vice President cannotmake any determination on are making amendments to theconstitution or dissolving parliament or firing the cabinet,"the ambassador said, adding no one can make a decision onthese issues now.

Asked once more for clarification, Shoukry said, "thehead of state of Egypt is the president, who has transmittedall his powers to the vice president... The de jure head ofstate is Hosni Mubarak. The de facto head of state is OmarSuleiman." PTI LKJ

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