Why Keep Mubarak Around?

by Patrick Appel

Issandr El Amrani collects his thoughts. This is an important point:

Who cares about the constitution? Perhaps not many protestors, but for the regime the constitution represents legitimacy. Mubarak needs to be in place, even if only symbolically, for amendments to the constitution to be made. If the constitution is suspended, then this forces the army to take charge itself (presumably through the Supreme Military Council), which opens the way to demands for civilian government and lifts the last layer of distance that the army has vis-a-vis the people.

(Photo: Egyptian anti-government protesters march in the coastal city of Alexandria on February 11, 2011. At least a million Egyptians took to the streets of cities around the country to demand the departure of President Hosni Mubarak, according to an AFP tally of official and witness accounts. By AFP/Getty Images)