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Egypt ruling party wonders who will be president
Egypt ruling party wonders who will be president
Questions and wonderment are seeping into Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), with party members giving contradictory statements over who their possible candidate will be in the 2011 Presidential election.
Thursday, May 27,2010 11:41

One leading NDP member said Tuesday that the party wanted current President Hosni Mubarak to run in next year’s vote, despite his ailing health and age.

Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif echoed this sentiment over the weekend, but not everyone within the NDP is hoping for another Mubarak run.

“He is old and we need to make the party younger if we are going to survive,” said a top member of the party, asking that they not be named due to the sensitivity of the issue. “We have had a lot of discussions over our future and our candidate, but nobody really knows what is going on.”

Although news reports have argued that the combined statements of Nazif and Safwat el-Sherif indicate the 82-year-old president, in power since 1981, would create momentum for another run at a 6-year term, the NDP official said that according to what they have witnessed at general secratariat meetings – the general secretariat runs all policy, membership and the organization structure of the NDP – that the confusion is real within the party.

“We have asked over and over again to have a candidate ready and prepared, but nobody knows what is going on. This is the reality and anyone who says otherwise is simply outstepping what is known inside the party,” the official added.

They argued that reports that claim Mubarak would run for another term are “erring in judgment and are attempting to create tension where there is none. We are simply waiting and seeing for a strong candidate. It is really unknown.”

“The party is filled with hope that President Mubarak will be a candidate,” el-Sherif, Secretary General of the ruling National Democratic Party, told the Dubai-based Al Arabiya television news network.

“Everyone looks to President Mubarak as a leader of this nation and everyone is behind him,” he said.

“He (Mubarak) is a legend who cannot be replaced,” said el-Sherif, who is also the speaker of the Shura Council, the upper house of Egypt’s parliament.

Egypt’s opposition, led by former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief and Noble Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei, have been opposed to any Mubarak being president post-2011.

They have repeatedly demanded more openness to Egypt’s fledgling democracy and have demonstrated against the president’s youngest son, Gamal, from being nominated for the country’s top job.

Most analysts have said in recent years that Gamal is being groomed for the job. He is currently Secretary General of the NDP’s Policies General Secretariat, however, he has denied any intention of running for president.

In the presient’s first public speech since having gall bladder surgery in Germany in March, he spoke directly to the activists, warning them against “gambling with stability.”

“I say with sincerity and frankness that I welcome the interplay and movement in society, as long as it follows the constitution,” he said in late April in a television speech to mark 28 years since Israel withdrew from Sinai. He added that the future of the country would not be decided by “empty slogans and vituperation.”

For now, NDP politicians are worried that without a strong candidate to put forward now, the opposition could gain ground, a worry that has activists excited.

“We see all their confusion and it is great news,” began Ahmed Younis, a 43-year-old accountant and ElBaradei supporter. “With all their not-knowing, it will help us get a support base if we do the right things and start getting a platform out there for the people of this country.”

Republished With Permission From Bikya Masr
tags: Ruling Party / Mubarak / Mubarak Regime / NDP / Nazif / Shura Council / Egyptian Media / ElBaradei / Gamal Mubarak / Succession / Safwat el-Sherif
Posted in Democracy  
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