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Mubarak''s son Gamal, top leaders quit ruling party: report

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Cairo, Feb 5 (PTI) Embattled President Hosni Mubarak''spowerful son Gamal and top leaders of ruling party today quittheir posts, but their conciliatory gesture drew a blank amidmounting pressure from protestors demanding the immediateouster of the Egyptian leader.

The six-member steering committee of the NationalDemocratic Party, including secretary-general Safwatel-Sharif, stepped down in a move to calm down protestsagainst Mubarak.

Hossam Badrawi, prominent physician who is reputed tohave good relations with opposition figures, has beenappointed as the NDP secretary general.

Earlier reports had said the President had also quitthe National Democratic Party, but the state TV did not namethe president and announced that members of the topdecision-making committee had resigned from their posts.

The top executive of the ruling National DemocraticParty, which includes the president''s son Gamal Mubarak who ishead of the powerful policies committee, resigned from rulingparty, state television said.

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

Gamal, a member of the Steering Committee, has beenseen as being groomed by his father to succeed him aspresident.

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.

(REOPENS FGN 46) In further developments to the crisis in Egypt, HossamBadrawi was appointed as the Secretary General of the NationalDemocratic Party and the head of the policies committee.

Gamal Mubarak who has been seen as being groomed by hisfather President Hosni Mubarak to succeed him also resignedfrom the top executive of the Party.

Other key figures removed from the party''s leadershipwere Mufid Shihab and Zakariya Azmy who have been parts of thepolitical live in Egypt for almost thirty years.

Meanwhile, the US envoy to Egypt has stressed theimportance of Mubarak staying in power until next September"to ensure the smooth transition of power".

Egypt''s prosecutor general has issued arrest warrantsagainst four ministers and former leading party figure AhmadIz.

Egypt''s former interior Minister Habib al-Adly is accusedof ordering soldiers to open live ammunition at protestors indowntown yesterday and torturing political detainees.

The ministers of housing, tourism and trade are accusedof using their posts to make profit while former party leadingfigure Ahmad Iz is accused of monopolizing steel which led toan incremental increase in its prices.

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