Bill Nelson Says Mubarak Must Go

Writing in The Hill yesterday, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) said it was time for President Hosni Mubarak to go.

Fueled by repression and unemployment, and spreading through Facebook and Twitter, the flames of anger and frustration reached Egypt.  There, with massive citizen revolt and huge new protests planned for this week, time is running short for longtime President Hosni Mubarak.

Mubarak’s naming of the head of the country’s intelligence service as his vice president is a step in the right direction, and will satisfy some.  But he cannot afford to clamp down again, as he initially tried to do by deploying his security forces and shutting down access to the Internet.

Instead, Mr. Mubarak will have to go – but not without an exit strategy that prevents the government from falling and leaving the door open for extremists.

His idea of a possible solution:

Still, I believe there is a short-term solution that could help calm some of the civil unrest in Egypt: guarantee the people the right to vote in free and fair elections.

To put real credibility into the promises of reform, President Mubarak should immediately submit to this core principle of democracy.

The next presidential election in Egypt is scheduled for September of this year.  Right now, there are no term limits in Egypt’s constitution restricting Mubarak from running for re-election for the sixth time. 

Mubarak must immediately open these elections to international observers and give his written assurance that his name won’t appear as a contender.  I believe this could help quell the protests.

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Filed under International Relations

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