Overblog Suivre ce blog
Editer l'article Administration Créer mon blog

egypt uprisingThe politburo of Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party has resigned en masse, in an apparent response to anti-government protests.

Hossam Badrawi, seen as a liberal, became the party's new secretary-general and also took over a position held by President Mubarak's son Gamal.

Protesters still occupy Cairo's Tahrir Square, but their numbers are have fallen from Friday's huge rally.

Mr Mubarak has also held talks with his ministers to try to revive the economy.

Banks will reopen on Sunday, but Finance Minister Samir Radwan said the economic situation was "very serious".

Analysts say the uprising is costing the country at least $310m a day.

Earlier there were reports of an explosion at a pipeline that supplies gas to Israel and Jordan. The blast caused a fire near el-Arish, Egyptian state television reported.

Paralysis

Mr Mubarak has said he will not stand for re-election in September but insists he must stay until then to prevent chaos in the country. Protesters are demanding that he goes immediately.

On Saturday, the president met the prime minister, finance minister, oil minister and trade and industry minister, along with the central bank governor.

Trade Minister Samiha Fawzi Ibrahim said exports were down 6% in January and that the authorities were providing extra food to try to stabilise prices and curb shortages.

Banks and the stock exchange have been closed for days, and many factories in the major cities have shut.

State media said the stock market would not now open on Monday as planned.

The BBC's Kevin Connolly, in Cairo, says the paralysis induced by the protests is having a huge impact on the creaking economy. Tourists have been frightened away and the prices of basic goods like cigarettes and bread have been soaring.

He says many Egyptians are beginning to wonder aloud how quickly daily life will return to normal regardless of the outcome of the struggle for power.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Radwan admitted the economy faced a "very serious" situation and that he was in constant touch with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

But he also said the economy had a "solid base" and "so far, we are coping".

Economists at Credit Agricole say the uprising is costing the country at least $310m (£192m) a day and they have revised down their economic growth estimate for Egypt this year from 5.3% to 3.7%.

Hotel businessman Adly el-Misikawi told the BBC his trade was down 30% and although he believed the demands of the protesters should be met he said Mr Mubarak should stay in office to oversee a smooth transition

Mr Radwan also said there would be a meeting with opposition groups to try to end the 12 days of protests.

He said Vice-President Omar Suleiman and "almost certainly Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq" would attend, adding that they would have "sufficient authority to negotiate with the opposition".

He did not say which opposition groups would attend. Egyptian television said the al-Wafd and al-Tajammu parties would be at the talks.

However, the BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo says if only these parties were involved the dialogue would have little credibility.

Leading opposition politician Mohamed ElBaradei told Germany's Der Spiegel weekly he would like to hold talks "with army chiefs, preferably soon, to study how we can achieve a transition without bloodshed".

The biggest opposition group in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, has said it will take part in discussions provided the government submits political reform within a specified time frame. But it also insists Mr Mubarak must leave office immediately.

Mr Radwan said the transition of power had already begun, with Mr Mubarak saying he would not run again for president.

"It is setting a process in place to ensure a smooth transition of power without falling into the trap of the chaos scenario," he said.

Saturday's pipeline explosion targeted supplies to Israel and Jordan from Egypt's Port Said.

Gas was shut off and the fire was brought under control by mid-morning, state television said.

It also reported that the curfew had now been shortened and would be in effect from 1900 to 0600 local time (1700-0400 GMT).

On Saturday at a conference in Munich, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the "status quo" of undemocratic nations in the region was "simply not sustainable".

She said: "Governments who consistently deny people freedom will open the door to instability... free people govern themselves best."

The UN believes more than 300 have died across Egypt since the protests began on 25 January, with about 4,000 hurt.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12374010

Tag(s) : #Afrique de l'Ouest