Wilson Center paper: Egypt at the Tipping Point?

Sept. 1, 2010, 9:30 a.m.

The following year in Egypt has the potential to be one of the most tumultuous and transformative in recent history.  Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled Egypt for the past 30 years, is in ill health.  This comes at a time when the country is preparing for presidential elections in 2011.  It has been widely assumed that Mubarak's son, Gamal, is being groomed to succeed his father, however, there is increased public criticism of this apparent handover.  Analysts speculate that there could be a power struggle between Gamal and intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, or other elements of the Egyptian military.  Meanwhile, other actors such as former IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, and the Muslim Brotherhood may contest power. The Wilson Center has released a paper by David Ottaway, a former Washington Post Middle East correspondent based in Cairo.  Ottaway, who is hosting a corresponding event on the 17th, discuses the current political climate in Egypt, and solicits the opinions of many influential Egyptians.  For those not familiar with Egypt, the paper provides a great introduction into the current political scene.   For those who possess a more in-depth familiarity with the country, the opinions from such a wide range of experts is well worth a read.

His [Salama Ahmed Salama, a well known Egyptian columnist] analysis of the three secular opposition parties sitting in Parliament with now just nine seats was scathing: they were ready to make whatever deal necessary with the government just to survive the threat from the Brotherhood.  He also felt the ruling NDP was pretty much an empty shell.  “The NDP is really just Hosni, Gamal and 10 or 12 people around them,” he said referring to the president and his son. So who, then, would decide the succession issue?

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