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ElBaradei asks Mubarak to quit

Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel peace laureate and former chief of the UN nuclear watchdog, has asked embattled President Hosni Mubarak to step down, saying his response to the mass protest against his 30-year rule in Egypt was "disappointing".

world Updated: Jan 30, 2011 18:15 IST

Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel peace laureate and former chief of the UN nuclear watchdog, has asked embattled President Hosni Mubarak to step down, saying his response to the mass protest against his 30-year rule in Egypt was "disappointing".

Speaking to Al Jazeera TV, Elbaradei who has been placed under house arrest, said the nation will collapse if Mubarak stays.

He asked 82-year-old Egyptian leader, who was reported to be in poor health, to set a framework for transition of power as the only way to end street unrests that have rocked Egypt.

ElBaradei told Al Jazeera in a phone interview on Saturday that Mubarak's speech on Friday, in which he said that he would form a new government, was "disappointing" for Egyptians.

He said that Egypt needs an entirely different system of governance today.

Mubarak has clung to power despite mounting pressure to quit as the situation in the world's most populous Arab nation deteriorated.

The President on Saturday night named intelligence chief and his close confidante Omar Suleiman as vice president for the first time in his 30-year rule.

He also chose aviation minister Ahmed Shafiq as new prime minister, hours after sacking the Cabinet and promising democratic and economic reforms. Shafiq, a former chief of Air Staff, has often been mooted as a potential successor to Mubarak.

Late on Friday night, ElBaradei was placed under house arrest amid mounting opposition to Mubarak's despotic rule as tens of thousands of anti-government protesters clashed with police in several cities in Egypt.

ElBaradei was was confined to his residence as unprecedented countrywide protests turned violent.

68-year-old ElBaradei, one of Mubarak’s fiercest critics, who returned to his homeland on Thursday to lead the protests, claimed that his regime was on its "last legs".

The violent protests against Mubarak autocratic regime, which began on Tuesday, have so far left at least 102 people dead, including 33 who were killed on Saturday, the reports said.

In the deadliest day of protests on Friday, 62 people were killed, including 35 in Cairo. Seven people were killed on Tuesday and Wednesday in Cairo and the canal city of Suez.

Several thousand people had also been injured, amid reports that more and more armymen were joining the protests against Mubarak.

Thousands of protesters defied the curfew for the second night and Cairo's central Tahrir (Liberation) Square remained filled with protesters.

Protesters on Saturday also tried to storm the interior ministry in central Cairo.