CAIRO: Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif said in comments published on Saturday that he hoped 82-year-old President Hosni Mubarak would seek a sixth six-year term in an election due next year.
"Egypt needs stability, and Mubarak is capable of realizing this stability," the state news agency MENA quoted Nazif as saying during a meeting with newspaper editors on Friday.
"The system has not put forth an alternative who can be comfortably placed in this field," he added.
Civic rights groups complain the Egyptian government has rigged elections in its favor and used a longstanding emergency law — in place since Mubarak’s predecessor Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981 — to cow a weak, divided opposition.
Speculation over who will succeed Mubarak, in power since 1981, has increased.
Mubarak has not said if he will seek another term, and many Egyptians believe he will try to lever his son Gamal into power if he does not.
Mubarak, whose health has been in question since he underwent surgery in Germany in March, dodged a question in Italy on Wednesday over who his successor might be, saying only God could decide who would next rule Egypt.
Nazif said Egypt has based its concept of political reform on party activity, but that a lack of development in this area has led to the continued domination of Mubarak’s National Democratic Party.
"Egypt has always had a dominant party," he added.
Nazif’s remarks were also reported in the independent dailies Al-Shurouk and Al-Masry Al-Youm.