Protesters are plainly not satisfied with Hosni Mubarak’s promise to leave office in September, but like it or not, they need him to stick around for a little while, Tarek Masoud writes in the New York Times. Only the president has the power to dissolve the parliament, he explains, which is crucial, because only parliament can enact the Democratic reforms Egypt needs. “The current parliament—bought and paid for by Mr. Mubarak’s National Democratic Party—is not fit for that task.”
Once new lawmakers have stripped him of his power, and opened elections to independents, Mubarak can step down. “This would no doubt disappoint those who want to put Mr. Mubarak on the next plane to Saudi Arabia,” Masoud concedes. But even if Egypt’s constitution is “a deformed confection of a corrupt regime,” it’s important to respect it and restore “a constitutionalist principle.” The US can ensure Mubarak keeps his word—the military relies too heavily on American money to ignore a demand from President Obama.