Egypt sets presidential vote for September 2011

Egypt will hold its presidential election in September next year and the ruling party will meet by July to choose its candidate, the party’s policy chief, Gamal Mubarak, said Monday, but refused to say if he himself will run.

The approach of the election has prompted speculation over whether President Hosni Mubarak, who has led the Arab World’s most populous country since 1981, will run for a sixth term.

NDP officials have indicated Mubarak, 82, is likely to run next year if he is able to. If not, many believe Gamal or a candidate with a military background could run in his place.

“Presidential elections are in September next year,” Gamal Mubarak, 47, told reporters. “You’ll find out who the eventual candidate is when the party convenes some time before the process starts next July and makes its final official decision.”

Asked whether he would run for the presidency, Gamal Mubarak said: “I gave an answer to this question not only five years ago but have been giving an answer possibly three or four times a year in the five years since. My response has not changed.”

“The only time you will find out who is going to be the eventual candidate is when the party convenes, sometimes obviously before the process starts next July, and makes it’s final official decision,” he said.

“It’s a constitutional issue, everybody knows when the presidential elections are, in September of next year. The process starts 60 days before,” he said.  

Analysts say the rules for the election guarantee that the ruling National Democratic Party’s nominee will win. In the 2005 vote, Egypt’s first multi-candidate race, Mubarak won easily.

A leaked diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks quoted the US ambassador to Cairo, Margaret Scobey, saying Mubarak will “inevitably” run in 2011 and stay in office until he dies.

Both Mubaraks have denied any plan for a family succession.

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