x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Mubarak's son does not want to rule

Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, 82, is yet to announce whether he will run for a sixth term in office, but his son says, "I have no personal ambition."

CAIRO // The younger son of the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, has said he has "no personal ambition" to succeed his father at the helm of the country, newspapers reported yesterday.

"Despite what people think, I have no personal ambition," Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper quoted Gamal Mubarak as telling an Egyptian television interviewer who asked him about his personal political plans.

"Gamal Mubarak: I have no personal ambition," said a front-page banner in the government's flagship Al-Ahram newspaper.

Egypt is set to hold a legislative election later this month ahead of presidential polls expected to take place next year.

The 82-year-old Mubarak is yet to say whether he will run for a sixth term in office, and is widely believed to be grooming Gamal, the younger of his two sons, for succession.

In the television interview, excerpts of which were published by several papers, Gamal insisted his concerns lie with helping push for reforms through Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).

"I want a role through which I can help the party and the state [prepare] for change. And I want to help the party's candidate implement his programme," he was quoted as saying. "Over the next two years we will be facing important missions ... a huge challenge," he said.

A former investment banker, the 46-year-old heads the NDP's powerful policy committee.

Protests erupted in Egypt earlier this year following rumours that he was being prepared to replace his father. The demonstrations came after posters of Gamal Mubarak were plastered around Cairo by a previously unknown group called the "Popular Campaign to Support Gamal Mubarak".

That was followed by several announcements from groups, also previously unknown, to collect signatures for a petition supporting a bid for the presidency by Gamal.

Their volunteers wear shirts emblazoned with the slogan: "Gamal Mubarak: a new beginning for Egypt".

The NDP denied any involvement in the campaign.