Egypt "Wise Men" to discuss power shift plan with VP

Fri Feb 4, 2011 7:05pm GMT

* Suleiman to meet independents over solution to impasse

* Plan sees Mubarak staying on in symbolic capacity

By Marwa Awad

CAIRO, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Egypt's vice president will meet a group of prominent independent figures on Saturday promoting a solution to the country's crisis in which he would assume the president's powers for an interim period, one of the group said.

Diaa Rashwan told Reuters he and others had been invited to see Vice President Omar Suleiman to discuss solutions to the crisis based on an article of the constitution that would allow President Hosni Mubarak to hand his powers to his deputy.

Mubarak would stay on in a symbolic position under the proposal being promoted by Rashwan and a group of Egyptians calling itself the "The Council of Wise Men".

The United States, a vital Egypt ally, has said an orderly transition of power must start immediately, though it has not spelt out how it thinks that should happen. Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain have adopted a similar position.

Handing powers to Suleiman offers a potential compromise between protesters' demands for Mubarak to leave office immediately and his stated decision to stay on until the end of his term in September.   Continued...

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