Mubarak steps down leaving Egypt without a leader

After nearly 30 years in power and 18 days of protests that captured the world’s attention, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt resigned from his position on Friday, ending an administration that was quickly losing support from many Egyptians in the months leading up to the protests.

While Egyptians rejoiced at the departure of Mubarak, the revolution has nevertheless raised several serious questions.

Throughout the protests, there was no clear opposition leader who seemed to be taking charge of the demonstrations. It was evident that the people of Egypt wanted Mubarak out, but less obvious was who would lead the country after his departure.

Mubarak passed power to the supreme council of the armed forces when he stepped down, essentially leaving Egypt under military rule. The military council announced that it would not act as a substitute for a “legitimate” government and today vowed to have a revised constitution drafted in 10 days and to transfer power to an elected civilian government in six months.

However, such a rapid transfer of power could potentially have negative side effects for an unstable Egypt. In the wake of the celebrations of Mubarak’s departure, Egypt will have to build a stable government of its own.

It also remains to be seen how cooperative the United States and the new Egyptian government will be, as Mubarak was a United States ally for much of his rule, although Obama did call for him to step down towards the end of the protests.