The Egyptian elite are nervous about instability in the wake of the President’s demise which explains why officials are doing all they can to quash rumours about his health. Nevertheless, it is possible he has cancer of the esophagus, and it is certain he has had treatment for a serious condition in
According to the constitution, when Mubarak dies the Vice President steps up to fill the vacuum until a new President can be elected. The flaw in this plan is that Mubarak has never appointed a deputy. So, according to the constitution, in that event, the Prime Minister assumes leadership.
Here’s where things become simultaneously murky and clear. Murky insofar as the political machine appears to be manoeuvring Mubarak’s son, Gamal, into a position of greater power. Upon the father’s death, the son might become Prime Minister, or, Vice President. At the same time quiet promises would be made to the military to keep them sweet. Depending on the position, power then shifts towards the Prime Ministership (See Russia’s Putin for details on how to do this) or, after a year as deputy, the son moves up to become President. What is clear is that Mubarak wants his son in charge,(see most Arab leaders for more on this)
So far – so internal politics for the ruling National Democratic Party; but it’s possible the Egyptian public won’t wear it, or indeed even the party itself might want a say in the future of the country.