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EGYPT: Prime minister hints at uncertainty toward Gamal Mubarak

_45192778_45192728 When asked this weekend about Egypt's 2011 presidential elections, Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif was quick to express his wish to see President Hosni Mubarak run for a sixth term, an answer that again raised concerns over who might eventually replace the man who has ruled the nation for nearly 30 years.

"The [political] system has not put forth an alternative [to Mubarak], who can be comfortably placed in this field," Nazif said.

The last few years have raised concerns among many Egyptians that Mubarak would forgo his candidacy in favor of his younger son, Gamal, who has headed the ruling National Democratic Party's politburo since 2002. By suggesting there is no replacement for the elder Mubarak, Nazif, a party member, appeared to cast doubt about the willingness of top NDP officials to nominate Gamal Mubarak in the presidential elections.

Opposition figures have warned against a possible Mubarak dynasty, arguing that Gamal Mubarak lacks the experience and charisma to run the country. Even longtime NDP officials, including former minister Safwat Sherif, one of the party founders, have objected to some of Gamal Mubarak's "radical" policies and ideas.

President Mubarak, 82, who recently overcame a health scare after being hospitalized for several weeks following gallbladder removal surgery in Germany in March, is yet to reveal an answer to the question on many Egyptians' minds. Will he be the National Democratic Party's candidate in 2011?

-- Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: Gamal Mubarak. Credit: Associated Press

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