The rule of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak officially ended today with the former leader granting state control to the country’s military, months short of the 30 year anniversary since he first came to power.
The BBC reported that the former president finally conceded to weeks of mass protests in the country with his resignation, which was officially announced on state television by Vice-President Omar Suleiman who claimed that the country was now in control of the high command of Egypt’s armed forces.
“In the name of God the merciful, the compassionate, citizens, during these very difficult circumstances Egypt is going through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down from the office of president of the republic and has charged the high council of the armed forces to administer the affairs of the country,” he was reported as saying.
The resignation was welcomed by Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed, who claimed that the apparent end of President Mubarak’s rule, allegedly linked to widespread corruption and human rights abuses, was part of a wider wave of democratic change taking place across the Arab world.
Amidst potential fears from some Western powers over the impacts such political changes could have on regional stability, Nasheed called for strong support for democratic reform in nations like Egypt.
“The right not to be tortured, the freedom to speak your mind, the ability to choose your own government… these liberties are not the preserve of Western nations but universal values to which everyone aspires,” he said
Press reports from around the world have focused on the likely fallout that the resignation of Mubarak, who had faced almost three weeks of solid protests against his rule by hundreds of thousands of his fellow Egyptians, could have both regionally and internationally.
British Newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, reported that the resignation has been praised by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the dawning of a “new Middle East” – drawing parallels with his own country’s 1979 revolution.
“It’s your right to be free. It’s your right to exercise your will and sovereignty,” he said.
Ahmadinejad reportedly told crowds in Tehran that Mubarak’s departure was likely to bring major changes to global politics.
“In spite of all the (West’s) complicated and satanic designs … a new Middle East is emerging without the Zionist regime and US interference, a place where the arrogant powers will have no place,” he said.
US President Barack Obama is also today expected to welcome the resignation of his Egyptian counterpart, according to press reports.
The financial world was not immune to Mubarak’s resignation, with news service Reuters reporting that the US dollar has posted a rise in value against the euro recovering from a “brief dip” spurred by fears over oil supply resulting from the former president’s departure.
Reuters’ reporters within Egypt have said that uncertainty remains alongside the optimism of protestors in Tahrir Square, Cairo, with senior members of the political group, the Muslim Brotherhood, claiming a victory for the Egyptian people as it awaits the next action from the higher military council presently in charge of the nation.