For the first time during the uprising in Egypt, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who appeared on all the major Sunday talk shows this morning, called for Egypt to hold free and fair elections that would ensure “real democracy.” This was another sign that the Administration was distancing itself from Egypt’s President, Hosni Mubarak, since a transition to democratic government would clearly result in his removal from power. On ABC’s This Week, Clinton, after saying that Egypt had in the past been a close partner, said:
Real stability only comes from the kind of democratic participation that gives people a chance to feel that they are being heard. And by that I mean real democracy, not a democracy for six months or a year and then evolving into essentially a military dictatorship or a so-called democracy that then leads to what we saw in Iran.
The Administration has been accused of being too slow in calling for the removal of Mubarak, a long time US ally. But in calling for an “orderly transition,” which Clinton did on Fox News Sunday, she seemed to be suggesting, as Massimo Calabresi interpreted, “that the administration is beginning to view embattled President Hosni Mubarak’s days as numbered.” Clinton’s comments today are therefore the strongest yet and seem to clearly recognize that Mubarak’s situation has become untenable.