CAIRO: Recent statements by two ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) leaders during the recent annual conference fueled different speculations about the party’s presidential candidate.
Gamal Mubarak, head of the NDP Policies Committee, said in a press conference earlier last week that the party’s annual conference wasn’t the forum to name the presidential candidate.
Gamal Mubarak, who also serves as the party’s assistant secretary general and is President Hosni Mubarak’s son, told reporters on the sidelines of the final day of the NDP 7th Annual Conference that the party will name the presidential candidate during a general conference to be held prior to the elections.
The presidential polls will be held in September 2011, and the names of candidates should be announced 60 days earlier.
Mubarak’s statements were preceded by similar confirmations by Mufid Shehab, the NDP assistant secretary general for parliamentary affairs.
However, neither of them confirmed nor denied that President Mubarak, who has been in office since 1981, will be the party’s candidate in the coming elections.
One month before the parliamentary polls, NDP senior member Ali Eddin Helal announced that President Mubarak would be the party’s official candidate if he was willing to run.
Such contradictory statements left opposition leaders and analysts relatively puzzled about the possible NDP candidate, especially after several scenarios of the inheritance of power were raised in the past few years.
“There is no doubt that this issue is surrounded with obscurity [especially in light of] … a political environment opposed to the extension of Mubarak’s reign or the inheritance of power,” said Amr Hashim, senior researcher at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.
“[The NDP leaders] are worried [and] … they haven’t reached a decision yet,” Hashim told Daily News Egypt.
Egyptians now may not be able to fully predict what the future holds for them as to their next leader.
According to Hashim, the NDP should have decided its presidential candidate by now.
“The fact that [the name of an NDP candidate] has not been announced yet reflects the state of perplexity [the NDP currently undergoes],” Hashim said.
Abdel-Geleel Moustafa, general coordinator of ElBaradei’s National Association for Change (NAC), believes that the recent statements by Shehab and Gamal Mubarak “indicate that there is a struggle over presidency inside the NDP itself.”
“Once Helal said Mubarak will be a possible candidate and at another occasion he said Mubarak will be the only candidate,” Moustafa argued.
While Hashim predicts that president Mubarak will run for a new term in 2011, Moustafa finds it hard to speculate who is going to be the president of Egypt in 2011.
“I think the NDP [deliberately] gave space for different speculations in this regard,” Moustafa said.
A few months ago, a number of campaigns, which were led by individuals claiming to have no connection with the NDP, called for nominating Gamal Mubarak for presidency, which prompted speculations about Gamal Mubarak being the future candidate.
“Such spontaneous campaigns [mean nothing but] some kind of a challenge to [opposition leaders like] Ayman Nour and Mohamed ElBaradei,” Hashim argued.
The NDP won a sweeping majority in the recent People’s Assembly (PA) elections, amidst allegations of vote rigging committed by the authorities in favor of the ruling party candidates.
Such results indicate that the main player in the race for the presidential elections will be the ruling party where no real opposition is present, or legally eligible, to compete over the country’s most important position.
The 2010 PA elections were the first held following the constitutional amendments enacted in 2007, which allow any political party to put forward a presidential candidate provided that it has a minimum of one seat in the PA.
“After the constitutional amendments, the NDP guaranteed that it would win presidency against any other candidate,” Moustafa said. “There is no chance for any non NDP-candidates to win.”