Gamal Mubarak holds closed-door meeting on cultural policy

Gamal Mubarak, assistant secretary-general of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) and son of President Hosni Mubarak, reportedly held a secret meeting two weeks ago with a number of intellectuals to discuss an official NDP report on the party’s cultural policy.

The meeting was said to have been attended by Bibliotheca Alexandrina Director Ismail Serag Eddin; National Center for Translation Director Gaber Asfour; Supreme Council for Culture Secretary-General Emad Abu Ghazi; Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies researcher El-Sayed Yassin; publisher Ibrahim el-Moallem; El-Sawi Cultural Wheel founder Mohamed el-Sawi; and civil society activist Mona Zulfiqar.

Attendees failed to explain why the meeting, which reportedly tackled the role of religion in Egyptian culture, was held behind closed doors.

Informed sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the meeting had been called for by Serag Eddin, who had prepared an extensive paper on NDP cultural policy entitled, “The Future of Culture in Egypt.”

Ever since the elder Mubarak underwent gallbladder surgery in March, speculation has raged over the state of the 82-year-old president’s health. Many political observers believe Gamal is being groomed by the ruling party to replace his aging father.

Last week, posters appeared throughout Cairo in support of a Gamal Mubarak candidacy in presidential elections slated for late next year. The move was widely seen as a reaction to the signature-collecting campaign currently being carried out by supporters of would-be presidential contender Mohamed ElBaradei, who–along with his recently-founded National Assembly for Change–is calling for constitutional amendments and political reform.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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