Why Mubarak Won't Leave

by Patrick Appel

Among other reasons:

If Mubarak stays on until September -- even as a figurehead (and listening to Sulayman today it sounded as if that is what the Egyptian president has become) -- the regime can carefully manage the process. If Mubarak leaves early -- as the U.S. and the opposition demands --things become messier. 

According to the constitution, if the President steps down, he is not succeeded by the Vice President.  That's right -- if Mubarak resigns and gets on an airplane tonight, Omar Sulayman, who seems to be in effect acting president at the moment, would not take his place.

Instead, the post would be filled by Fathi Surur, the speaker of the People's Assembly. Surur is a former law professor and a reliable regime stalwart. He is not from the military or the security apparatus and is widely regarded as a figure whose job has been to manage the parliament for the regime. And he has done so effectively. His presidency would delight nobody. (Some elements of the opposition have suggested that Surur should be pressed to turn down the post, in which case the job falls to the chief justice of the Constitutional Court. His profile is much lower than Surur but his career would inspire no more confidence.)