Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Tuesday that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's nearly three-decade rule is obviously over, regardless of whether he steps down now or stays in power until the country's elections in September.
In an interview on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” Blair, who now serves as a Middle East peace envoy, said, “Whatever happens, frankly, there's going to be change. And that change will happen reasonably quickly."
Morgan pressed Blair about whether, if now is not the time, in face of the protesting and countrywide opposition to his leadership, for Mubarak to abdicate. “If you were still British prime minister, would you be calling for your friend, President Mubarak, to resign and to leave?” Morgan said.
Blair said he does not think the British government or the Obama administration is going to ask Mubarak to resign immediately.
“There is going to be a point when there is going to have to be an election,” Blair said. “In between now and that time, you are going to have to manage that change.
“I think what you will find is that the U.K government, the U.S. government, and other governments are saying, ‘look at some point there is going to have to be a free and fair election and the question is how you get from here to there.’”
Morgan asked Blair whether the time gap between Mubarak’s Tuesday announcement that he would not seek re-election and the September election would create a vacuum “and a void here into which the extremists could well come?”
“Well, it is over, in the sense that whatever we're talking about, we're talking about a period of transition until we get to elections,” Blair said. “The question who is managing that process.”
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