Egypt's Vice President Omar Suleiman on Sunday turned down an opposition demand he assume the powers of embattled President Hosni Mubarak during political crisis talks, an opposition participant said.
"We asked him for the president to delegate his powers to the vice president as allowed by Article 139 of the constitution, but he refused," a delegate from one of the opposition groups that met Suleiman said.
For the past two weeks, Egypt has been paralysed by a wave of protests against Mubarak's rule, and former intelligence chief Suleiman has been thrust into centre stage as a leader who might negotiate a deal on democratic reforms.
Mubarak, who appointed Suleiman, has said he will not run for re-election at polls in September. But this was not far enough for some opposition groups, who prefer that Suleiman rule in his place while rapid elections are organised.