Egypt Ruling Party Votes to Keep Mubarak at Helm

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Surprise surprise. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will serve another presidential term. Not since 1993 did his continuing hold on power shock anyone. There is a very good excerpt on the nature of Mubarak’s rule in Fouad Ajami’s book The Dream Palace of the Arabs: A Generation’s Odyssey (1998) regarding that critical year of 1993 when Mubarak opted for a third presidential term, breaking his pledge that he would limit himself to two terms in office. Ajami has said it best:

A healthy measure of the regime’s legitimacy seemed to vanish overnight in the aftermath of that third presidential term. That keen eye for the ruler’s foibles now saw all Mubarak’s defects. He had hung around too long. An inarticulate man, he had never bonded with the country. The national elections he presided over became increasingly irrelevant. Worse still, Mubarak ran afoul of his country’s sense of propriety by refusing to designate a successor or help develop a process of orderly succession. His two predecessors, much larger historical figures with far greater claims to political legitimacy, their personal histories deeply intertwined with their country’s never dared go that far. Supreme in the political domain, Nasser always ruled with a designated successor in place, and Sadat had chosen Mubarak in homage to generational change. Mubarak had no claim to inheritance when Sadat picked him from a large officer corps; it was Sadat’s will that made him. In contrast, Mubarak ruled alone…

(Ynet) — Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was formally retained on Saturday as head of the country’s ruling party at the start of a party convention that may give clues as to how he will handle an eventual transition of power. National Democratic Party members voted to keep 79-year-old Mubarak at the party helm for another five years by a vote of 5,248 to 9 in an uncontested secret ballot, state news agency MENA reported. Mubarak has ruled Egypt for over a quarter century. (Reuters)

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