Senior NDP official hopes for 6th Mubarak term

The media secretary of Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), Ali Eddin Hilal, said he hopes incumbent President Hosni Mubarak will run for a sixth term in the upcoming presidential elections scheduled for late 2011.

In an interview with the state-run Nile TV Network, Hilal said, "Mubarak is the NDP's nominee for the upcoming elections. But if he decides not to run, which we hope won't happen, we can then discuss alternatives, of which there are plenty."

In August, NDP Secretary-General Safwat al-Sherif, who also heads Egypt's upper house, the Shura Council, announced in press statements a party consensus over Mubarak as the NDP's primary candidate.

Media reports point to an internal dispute within the ruling party between the old guard, who support President Mubarak, and the new guard, who back Mubarak's son, Gamal, for presidency.

Gamal Mubarak, 46, is widely believed to be the most potential successor to his octogenarian father.

Recently, a group describing itself as a popular campaign supporting Gamal for president put up posters on streets in different provinces promoting an inheritance of power, but observers believe this to be merely a pulse-testing attempt to gauge Egyptians' support for the idea. 

Former IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei, under parallel popular pressure, has expressed readiness to run for the post should constitutional restrictions on presidential nomination be amended–a demand rejected by President Mubarak, who is known to stress commitment to the Constitution's rules on presidency.

In March, President Mubarak declared that ElBaradei is welcome to participate in the presidential race, but said that he must do so within the constitutional framework, adding that Egypt is in no need for a "new hero."

Constitutional amendments decreed by Mubarak in 2005 stipulate that an independent presidential candidate must obtain 250 votes from members of parliament and local councils, all of whom are within the grip of the ruling party. 

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