What started as rumors now has some substantiating reports. According to the Times, BBC correspondent Lyse Doucet just spoke with Hossam Badrawy, secretary general of the National Democratic Party. Badraway said, “that Mr. Mubarak will “probably” speak tonight and he “hopes” that the president will hand over his powers to his vice president Omar Suleiman.” Badraway also reportedly “confirmed it’s being discussed.”
A different correspondent heard an even stronger report from Badrawy. The Times reports:
Lindsey Hilsum, a Channel 4 News correspondent in Cairo, reported via Twitter that Hossam Badrawy, the new secretary-general of the Mubarak regime’s National Democratic Party, “just told me he expects President Mubarak to pass his powers to his vice president tonight,” in a televised address. She added that Dr. Badrawy “told me in three meetings yesterday and phone call today he convinced President Mubarak to pass powers to” Omar Suleiman, the intelligence chief he appointed vice president days into the protests.
Dr. Badrawy is an influential figure within the party. He is considered a reformer and was formerly close to Gamal Mubarak, the president’s son and presumed heir. This week, he personally accompanied Wael Ghonim, a protest organizer released after 12 days in custody, back to his home.
Who will hold power if Mubarak steps down? The obvious choice, one suspected to be favored by both the U.S. and Israel, is Vice President Omar Suleiman. But he almost as hated by the protesters as Mubarak. It’s not clear they’d be satisfied with him.
Another possibility is that the military will hold the reins of power until it can hand them over during September elections. That seems a serious possibility — today, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in Egypt convened to discuss the protests and the protection of “the motherland’s resources and people,” and said they would begin meeting regularly to do so.