BULLETIN: MUBARAK WON'T RUN AGAIN – AT 4:25 P.M. ET:
Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Bowing to a week of protests in the streets of Cairo, Hosni Mubarak announced Tuesday that he will wrap up nearly 30 years as Egypt's president in September and hand over power "in a constitutional way."
"I have spent enough time serving Egypt," Mubarak told his people in a televised address Tuesday night, adding, "My first responsibility now is to restore the security of the homeland, to achieve a peaceful transition of power in an environment that will protect Egypt and Egyptians and which will allow for the responsibility to be given to whoever the people elect in the forthcoming elections."
Mubarak's current term ends in September, and he said he had already decided not to run again. Protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square, where thousands have gathered for days to call for his ouster, erupted in cheers with the announcement -- but several of them have said they will continue to demand Mubarak's immediate resignation.
"This is not enough," Mahmoud Safi, a lawyer taking part in the Cairo demonstrations, told CNN after reports of Mubarak's impending announcement emerged. "We have one request. We want him to leave our country now, immediately, not tomorrow."
COMMENT: News reports from a variety of sources say that Mubarak was pushed by the United States to vacate the presidency.
We don't yet know whether Mubarak's decision, which keeps him in power until September, will be accepted by the protesters, or whether the sentiments expressed by the lawyer in our quote above will prevail.
We are in a very dangerous period. John Bolton, our former (and great) UN ambassador, said it best today when he warned about accepting a free election as the final test of democracy. Democracy, he said, is a way of life, not just an election.
Some commentators are noting the contrast between Barack Obama's indifferent treatment of democracy demonstrators in Iran, an enemy of the United States, and his turning on Mubarak, a friend.
We're watching this closely.
February 1, 2011