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EGYPT: Who is sponsoring the 'coalition' promoting Mubarak's son?

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The Popular Coalition for Supporting Gamal Mubarak launched a campaign to promote the nomination of the president's son in next year's elections. But millions of Egyptians have been wondering about the real force behind the movement.

Last month marked the beginning of efforts to enhance the younger Mubarak's reputation by coalition members, who plastered tens of posters of his image with slogans urging the 47-year-old to follow in his father's footsteps.

However, analysts have always debated whether the head of the ruling National Democratic Party's politburo enjoyed any popular support among ordinary citizens since Gamal Mubarak's introduction to the political scene as a possible heir to his father in 2000.

Growing fear of a possible succession plan that would see Gamal Mubarak take over the presidency come 2011 has been another reason to question who is actually behind this coalition.

NDP spokesman Ali Eddin Helal rushed to reject any links to the campaign, stressing that the party neither endorses nor finances the coalition, which is headed by independent activist Magdi Kurdi.

But a few weeks later, the coalition's assistant coordinator, Iglal Salem, claimed that the NDP Policies Committee official and businessman Ibrahim Kamel provided the campaign with about $350,000.

Members of the coalition sued Salem for "attempting to gain fame at the expense of the coalition and defaming the campaign's image."

The allegation sparked suggestions that a number of businessmen-cum-politicians within the party are keen on installing Gamal Mubarak as the next president because his financial ideology serves their personal interests.

"I believe that this campaign was initiated by a number of businessmen who fear a deterioration in President Mubarak's health and believe that it's better to quicken Gamal's succession while his father is still around," said Mustapha Kamel Sayed, a professor of political science at Cairo University.

Political analyst and columnist Salama Ahmed Salama said he believed that the ruling party could be secretly blessing the pro-Gamal Mubarak campaign.

"The whole thing is meant to look like a grass-roots movement, but the NDP stamp is hard to miss," Salama said.

Internal conflict

The newborn coalition has been perceived by some as an indication of the ongoing conflict within NDP itself, whose majority of members have yet to reach unanimous consent over Gamal Mubarak's potential nomination.

"The sudden appearance of the posters could be a window into the battle taking place within the ruling party," said Amr Chobaki, an analyst at the Al Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies.

"It's a sign that the issue [of nominating Gamal Mubarak] has not been settled internally," he added.

Uncertainty over Gamal Mubarak was highlighted when Prime Minister and top NDP member Ahmed Nazif was once quoted as saying that the Egyptian political system failed to produce a valid substitute for Hosni Mubarak.

On Sunday, the party's general secretary, Sawfat Sherif, stressed that Hosni Mubarak is the only NDP candidate for next year's elections. Analyst Deyaa Rashwan is convinced that the first and last word regarding Gamal Mubarak's candidacy will come down to Mubarak senior.

"President Mubarak is cautious and he knows that the post of the president is subject to forces inside state institutions, including the military," Rashwan said.

"This campaign is primarily aimed at President Mubarak, to convince him that his son is a popular man, and there is no danger in him being the presidential candidate."

Hosni Mubarak, 82, has yet to announce whether he will be running in the elections. Party officials say no final decision on the matter will be made before June.

Concerns over the President's health have increased since his gallbladder was removed in an operation in Germany in March.

-- Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: Defaced election posters in support of Gamal Mubarak. Credit: Agence France-Presse

Comments () | Archives (2)

THE COMMENT OF THE PERSON WAS BEFORE MY MESSAGE HE IS VERY POLITE WITH HIS COMMENT I REALY WANT TO SEE EGYPT IN BLOOD SHED 1ST PEOPLE ARE SOOOO PATHETIC HOPELESS THEY LOST THEIR MANLY FEELINGS AFETR 30 YEARS OF DEHUMANIZING PEOPLE OF EGYPT AND PUT THEM DOWN TO THE UNDER HUMAN RACE THEY LOST EVEN TO SAY AAHHH IT IS ASHAMED OF THOSE CONTROLLING THIS WHAT SO CALLED EGYPT, AND THOSE THE MERCENARIES NEWS PAPER AND SATELITE TV AND THOSE BIG MOUTHS MONKEYS OPEN THEIR FILTHY MOUTHS TO THE PUBLIC WITH PRAISING THE GOVERNMENT AND THE PRESIDENT NEED TO KILL THEMSELVES HOW THAT MAN WILL STAND IN FRONT OF ALLH THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT(WAHASSRATAH YA MISR AND THE EGYPTIANS))))

Dear sirs, There is a group of elements supporting this kind of dirty and illegal things. Firstly the strongest support comes right from Mubarak himself as in last decade he introduced his son to the Egyptian political scene with lots of advantages no one else has ever had. Secondly, extremely important factor is the Emergency law, how can people give a real opinion wether politically or concerning anything related to eh governement in such tranny and rigide system and freedom-restricting law. The accussation is always ready"terrorist"if you try to urgue or say anything over the government, surely you gonna spend rest of your life in prison and no one will even be able to help. This is an unforgettable sin according to the NDP. Moreover, those fucken old servants of the NDP such Safwat en Helal... and many others are just poppets, they are very old and I think they donot care of people's or country's need as long as they stay in thier positions and ready to sacrifice for their master. Forth, Mubarak is not only president of Egypt but he is the highest leader of the army, of police authorities, military leader, in other words he gathered all authorities in his hands. So it is pretty normal and simple that no one even the blue insects dare to oppose such tranny exactly 5000 years ago when no one could even oppose the pharoah. Further, the Egyptian masters of huge companies and local investors are dear lovely friends of Gamal, so-to-speak the father( God) controls all related to the country while Gamal( Son) is managing easily economy and money via lovely friends such Ezz , Egypt telecom owner, and many many others. Briefly, Mubarak is a president 1 year before my birth, which I hate so much as I was born a freeman and he transformed me into a slave, the man made himself a king but very bad unfair king who every one sleeps every night praying for god that he will wake up and hear news that he is gone forever, until this happens we gonna suffer hunger, unemployment, very bad education, the worst health service all over the planet and corruption.
Thank you so much for rising such case. God bless America


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