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Bildt hails end of Mubarak era in Egypt

TT/David Landes · 2 Feb 2011, 11:49

Published: 02 Feb 2011 11:49 GMT+01:00

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Bildt said he "welcomed" a Tuesday night announcement by Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak that he would not stand for re-election in Egypt's elections, scheduled to take place in September.

"The Mubarak era in Egyptian politics is over," he wrote.

"I now hope that real transition to a democratic, pluralistic, and stable Egypt can begin."

Bildt has been in Brussels since Monday, where developments in Egypt have dominated meetings with EU foreign ministers and Swedish EU representatives.

Earlier in the week, Bildt explained that the EU is united in its belief that the only way to achieve a democratic and stable Egypt is through free and fair elections.

He cautioned, however, that the European Union has no views as to what the results of such elections should be.

In the seventh day of increasingly vocal protests that have left an estimated

300 people dead and more than 3,000 injured, millions of Egyptians took to the streets in protest on Tuesday calling on Mubarak to step down.

In a statement broadcast on television on Tuesday night, Mubarak, 82, said he would not stand for reelection, signaling the end of his three decades at the top of Egyptian politics.

While Bildt was encouraged by Mubarak's announcement, Egyptians in Sweden who support calls for his ouster remained skeptical of the Egyptian president's stated intention to get out of politics.

"He's lying," Kholoud Saad, an Egyptian living in Gävle in eastern Sweden, told The Local.

Saad has been active in organising demonstrations in Sweden to show support for protestors in her home country.

She claimed Mubarak has a history of hiding the truth from the Egyptian people and she saw no reason to think he would stop now.

"We demand that he step down immediately," she said.

Saad fears that Mubarak will still be able to influence the September elections even if he's not a candidate, either through having his son run for president or through rules that allow him and his allies to supervise the election.

"If the election is held under Mubarak's supervision, we won't be able to trust it at all," she said.

In addition to Mubarak's immediate departure, Saad and her fellow demonstrators have called for Egypt's constitution to be changed to ensure independent electoral supervision and to remove restrictions on who can run for president, changes which Sweden's foreign minister also supported.

"Now the crucial task is to arrange the free and fair election of Egypt's next president and to create credibility for political developments until then," said Bildt.

"But that is going to require major changes in current regulations to open things up for all candidates who wish to run. The old regime's limitations must be abolished."

"The Egyptian people's ability to choose freely must not be restricted," he added.

Story continues below…

Saad and other Egyptians in Sweden are planning another demonstration to be held in central Stockholm on Saturday in which they will stage a mock trial of Mubarak.

"We want to let the world know what he has done," she said.

Meanwhile, Swedish tour operators continue shuttling Swedish tourists home from Egypt, a country which has temporarily imploded, according to Sweden's ambassador to Egypt, Malin Kärre.

Weary travelers who arrived back in Sweden on Tuesday night were relieved to be home, and voiced doubts over whether they would return to Egypt in the future.

"No more Egypt. You just want to get home because you're worried and have this in the back of your mind the whole time," Ann Kristin Jedler from Motola in central Sweden told the TT news agency.

Charter companies told TT they expect to have all their customers currently in Egypt back in Sweden by the end of the week.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:57 February 2, 2011 by Arturio
"The Mubarak era in Egyptian politics is over " --> that probabily is truth

"I now hope that a true transition a transition to a democratic, pluralistic, and stable Egypt can begin." --> That will remain only an hope.

The dictator is dead long life to the new dictator OR worst to a islamic dictatorship
14:06 February 2, 2011 by Syftfel
Bildt may very well be correct in that it is a good thing the Mubarak era is over, although it remains to be seen if it is a good thing. The two biggest concerns now however are: 1) To keep the throat slitting "muslim brotherhood" out of Egypt's future and, 2) Egypt's future relationship with Israel. Let's keep a watchful eye on both. For the gfood of the world the great nation of Misr must head towards a modern, western style, capitalist, democracy and freedom from antiquated religious dogma. Welcome to our world.
14:49 February 2, 2011 by calebian22
I see a Coptic Christian refugee wave in Sweden's near future.
14:55 February 2, 2011 by Great Scott
Now the world waits to hails the end of the bilt era.
15:15 February 2, 2011 by Juan Harry Bush
I suppose now the insurgents will try to have their own government in the EU?

This will never happen in Sweden. Democracy Must Survive.
15:20 February 2, 2011 by Nemesis
Strange, Bilt non longer supports him. Orders from Washington must have changed.

As a matter of interest, how many of the estimated 16,000,000 Coptic Christians in Egpyt, is Bilt planning to bring to Sweden?

If all please let me know in advance so I can get out before the stampede.
16:14 February 2, 2011 by jackx123

Bildt only brings mussies to sweden and let christian be tortured and executed, may it be in egypt, iraq or other countries where christians are suppressed
16:45 February 2, 2011 by 2394040
The only thing that will change (if it does) is the names and faces of the people in charge. One of the lessons of history is that freedom is not a universal value. Egypt has never, since the beginning of recorded history, been a free country. And even free countries such as Sweden and the USA are beginning the long, slow, but inevitable slide back into despotism. We don't learn from history, so we are fated to repeat it, over and over. The universal freedom is the lust for power. And when someone has power, the tendency is always to abuse it. Whether Mubarrak stays or leaves, the power structure will remain. Count on it.
17:13 February 2, 2011 by Rick Methven
Bildt may have spoken too soon.

Today Mubarak supporters attacked The anti-supporters with knives guns and threw concrete slabs on the protesters. they even used horses and Camels. So it looks like Mubarak is up to his usual tricks
18:14 February 2, 2011 by Ravioli
We'll see if Mubarak leaves. But if he does, it will be Goodbye, Mubarak and Hello, Muslim Brotherhood. Another Islamic state is NOT what this world needs.
19:55 February 2, 2011 by Iraniboy
Well Done Bildt! Most western government except Sweden are so hypocrite that they don't support democracy in the Middle East since they know that it turns out to be an Islamic country if democracy comes to Mideast.
20:22 February 2, 2011 by Zala Russe
So Bildt was voicing this opinion to Mubarak a week ago was he? Yeh. Who DO YOU think you're kidding. Tosser! Muburak isn't going because of a million people out on the streets. He's going because Obama, desperate to avoid a 'Shah of Iran' situation pulled the plug on him. This should have been done decades ago. Bildt is jumping around like a demented muppet with Obamas's fist up his backside. The situation: control of the Suez Canal, strategic launch pad to bomb Israel? This situation is potentially a hair's breadth away from WW3.
15:07 February 4, 2011 by UnmitigatedTruth
What you think you see in Egypt is not the real story. I believe that the reason the Middle East is going through these "demonstrations" are because of President Obama's weakness and leanings toward the Muslim Brotherhood.

I have written about this in: http://www.unmitigated-truth.com/2011/01/you-reap-what-you-sow.html

We are living in dangerous times.
09:38 February 5, 2011 by Iraniboy

Lol! You're nominated for joke of the year! Your analysis can make a cooked chicken laugh!

Egypt has dictatorship and dictatorship ANYWHERE in the world is unsustainable. That's a historical fact!
22:50 February 6, 2011 by wenddiver
Some of the most awful Regimes in history called themselves "Democratic Republic of" or the "Peoples Democratic Republic of", The People who are intelectuals or really belive in Democracy will be the first arrested in the new Islamic Republic.

Terror and stupiity are poor starts for a new nation.
16:15 February 7, 2011 by Juan Harry Bush
I guess Bildt would be happy to see an Islam government regime in Sweden, as well as Sharia Law.


Hello... Obama IS a Muslim, just take a gander at his television speeches and interviews posted on the net.

Try and Google "Obama Muslim", and take special note on the You Tube results : )
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