EGYPT: Coalition pushing Gamal Mubarak for president
A campaign to support President Hosni Mubarak's son to follow in his father footsteps has been launched by an unlikely leftist who has been busy scattering posters and slogans in slums and poor neighborhoods in support of Gamal Mubarak.
"I can see him [Gamal] completing the process his father started. I was impressed by his visits to shanty areas," said Magdi Kordi, who, to the ire of opposition parties, is leading a drive called the Popular Coalition for Gamal Mubarak's Support.
Kordi, who was expelled from the leftist Tagammu party following his official endorsement of Gamal, claims that 4,000 Egyptians have joined his coalition. He said he is not impressed by opposition candidates and insists that he is acting independently and without the support of Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party.
"I haven’t and will not contact Gamal Mubarak until the coalition gathers enough voices to force him to run in the elections," said Kordi.
Gamal Mubarak, 47, heads the NDP's policies committee. Despite spiraling speculation that he is being prepared to take over his father's seat, party officials have sought to distance themselves from Kordi's coalition, saying that that "President Hosni Mubarak is the only person who'll have the final say on the party's next nominee."
Nonetheless, analysts and opposition figures believe that NDP officials may benefit from Kordi's effort: It raises Gamal Mubarak's profile and, if it fails, the party bears no responsibility. Political analyst Amr Chobaki said the appearance of posters supporting Gamal Mubarak, who lacks foreign policy experience and has never served in government, is a test to see how Egyptians will react to the possibility of the son succeeding his father.
"Whether Gamal knows of it or not, this campaign could well be orchestrated by some NDP top members, because I don’t think anyone would volunteer in a campaign supporting Gamal Mubarak," Hassan Nafaa, who is the general coordinator of the National Front for Change says.
"There must be something cooked by the NDP amidst the growing mystery over their party's next presidential candidate," Nafaa adds.
The mystery Nafaa mentioned is increasing anxiety among millions of Egyptians on whether Hosni Mubarak will nominate himself come 2011 or if the 82-year-old, whose health has been the center of national concern over the last few months, will choose his son. While the younger generation of NDP members is convinced of Gamal Mubarak can run the country, the party's old guard reportedly has its doubts.
-- Amro Hassan in Cairo
Photo: Gamal Mubarak. Credit: Agence France-Presse