Mubarak ‘Satisfactory’ Following Gallbladder Surgery
“He is clinically stable, with normal vital signs, and his condition is really good this morning,” Markus Beuchler of Heidelberg University Hospital in Germany and Hatem El Gabaly, the chief of the Egyptian Ministry of Health, said in an e- mailed statement today.
A polyp from Mubarak’s small intestine also was discovered yesterday and taken out, Buechler said in an earlier statement “I am fully satisfied with the performance and the outcome of the surgical intervention,” he said. No cancer was found in the removed tissue, he said.
Mubarak, 81, was in an intensive care unit and speaking to family members and doctors. He will remain hospitalized “in the following days until he is fully recovered,” Buechler said.
Mubarak yesterday temporarily handed power to Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, 58, who will carry out the role of president until Mubarak is able to resume his duties, the Information Ministry said. Egypt has no vice president.
Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl had the same surgery at the southern German facility last month and was discharged three weeks later, hospital spokeswoman Annette Tuffs said.
Mubarak has ruled the Middle East’s most populous country for 28 years. His reign is the longest since the military overthrew Egypt’s monarchy in 1952. He had been visiting Germany for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel. During an examination March 5, Mubarak was found to have “chronic inflammation of the gallbladder,” Egypt’s government press office said.
Cabinet spokesman Magdy Rady said Nazif will stay in Egypt until Mubarak is back. “It’s business as usual,” Rady said.
“There’s no worries about Nazif for Mubarak,” said Hisham Kassem, a former newspaper publisher and opposition activist. “There won’t be a coup.”
Nazif was appointed prime minister in July 2004. He was minister of communications and information technology in the previous government. Liberalization of Egypt’s economy has been a main thrust of his time in office.
In June 2004, Mubarak underwent surgery in Munich for a slipped disc. He put presidential powers in the hands of then- Prime Minister Atef Obeid for 10 days.
Mubarak has held office since the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981 during a military parade by soldiers belonging to an underground Islamic group. He has kept to a peace treaty with Israel that took effect in 1979 and in the past two years tried to mediate between feuding Palestinians in hopes of getting peace talks for a Palestinian state next to Israel under way.
Presidential elections are scheduled for 2011. Mubarak has kept succession possibilities firmly linked to his ruling National Democratic Party. Rules introduced in 2006 require presidential candidates to belong to the NDP or established opposition parties, which have virtually no popular support. If an independent wants to run, he must win endorsement by parliament and local councils, all dominated by the NDP.
Egypt’s biggest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, isn’t recognized by the government as a political party.
Mubarak reins in dissent through emergency laws decreed in 1981 that prohibit besmirching Egypt’s image, permit secret trials to be held and allow detentions without trial.
Speculation on a successor to Mubarak has circulated since 2003, when he fainted during a session of parliament. In Cairo, democratic activists have campaigned to prevent a possible dynastic succession to Mubarak’s son Gamal, 47. He heads the NDP’s policy committee. Gamal denies he’s running for president.
Mohammed ElBaradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, is campaigning for constitutional changes that would widen the field for presidential candidates. During a visit to Cairo last month, ElBaradei formed a group of 30 opposition politicians and activists to press for new rules.