NDP official: President to run for 6th term; Gamal Mubarak candidacy ‘delusory’

Ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) stalwart Ali Eddin Helal has declared that President Hosni Mubarak would be the party's candidate in upcoming presidential elections slated for August or September of next year.

"The NDP's candidate for upcoming [presidential] elections is President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak," he said decisively during a televised interview on Thursday.

"One of the current regime's achievements… is that it has laid down a legislative configuration that has prepared Egypt for a transition [of power] in accordance with the constitution," Helal said in response to a question on whether Egypt was ready for a president with a non-military background. "The NDP will choose the best and most effective person to lead Egypt in the coming period."

"Any transfer of power will take place in a peaceful manner and in accordance with the constitution and within the framework of political and constitutional institutions," he added. "Egypt is a state of institutions, which are stronger than individuals, and those in positions of authority carry out their roles within the context of these institutions."

During the interview, which will be re-broadcast in full on the Al-Hurra satellite television channel at 11:10 PM on Friday, Helal stressed that Egypt had witnessed the peaceful transfer of power for the last two centuries with the exception of the 1952 revolution, which he described as "a change that came from the authorities and the state apparatus itself."

In answer to a question about the prospects of a presidential run by Gamal Mubarak, the 46-year-old secretary-general of the NDP's influential Policies Committee and son of the president, Helal said: "Certain people with their own delusions and ideas might nominate this guy or that guy–they might even launch an electoral campaign. Some hypocrites want to run in upcoming parliamentary elections [next month] and they think that if they make certain declarations they will be able to score points."

Helal added that some of these individuals "may have ulterior agendas or may profit from such talk." He went on to stress, however, that neither the ruling party nor the younger Mubarak were in any way involved in such speculation.

In response to Helal's statements, Saif Eddin Abdel Fatah, economy and political science professor at Cairo University, said that talk of the "peaceful transfer of power" was a "prearranged political ploy." He predicted that President Mubarak would make a last-minute announcement that he would not be able to run due to health concerns and that the NDP would then nominate its "non-military candidate," Gamal Mubarak.

"This ploy will present the opposition with a fait accompli," he said.

"The president's son will not give up his dream of becoming Egypt's highest authority so easily," said Mostafa Kamel al-Sayed, another economy and political science professor at Cairo University. "He will most likely think up another plan to make himself more attractive to the public."

"Gamal Mubarak's current position within the NDP gives him greater room for maneuver, since–if he were to become president–he would then have to face public discontent with the government, which would affect his popularity," al-Sayed added. "Therefore, it's better for him to remain head of the Policies Committee and simply blame the government for misinterpreting his instructions."

For some opposition figures, though, Helal's announcement came as little surprise.

"We're convinced that President Mubarak will remain president for life," said Democratic Front Party Chairman Osama al-Ghazali Harb. "Those counting on the NDP to nominate Gamal Mubarak are in error. They don't understand the nature of the ruling party or of Egypt's political system."

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

Related Articles

Back to top button