Egypt's Mubarak to seek fifth term - UK papers

Thu Jun 16, 9:45 AM ET

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian President
Mubarak will seek a fifth and last six-year term in September
elections and will name a civilian vice-president if he wins, British
newspapers said this week, quoting the presidential spokesman.

The spokesman, Suleiman Awad, denied on Thursday making the remarks
when he met reporters for British news media this week. He had
discussed reform in general terms and not "gone into any details and
the statements attributed to him," a statement said.

But several British newspapers had quoted Awad as saying Mubarak, 77,
would seek another term this year.

"This will be Mubarak's last term ... He wants a free, democratic and
fair election. He wants to be remembered as the one who did this,"
the Guardian quoted him as saying.

"He will appoint a civilian vice-president to succeed him," The Times
pm Wednesday quoted him as saying.

Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP) wants him as its candidate
in September but the president has not said in public whether he will

During 23 years in office, Mubarak has never appointed a
vice-president -- the post which brought both Mubarak and his
predecessor, Anwar Sadat, to the presidency.

The four presidents since the monarchy was overthrown in 1952 have
all come from the military. Analysts say any new president would find
it hard to govern without military consent.

The man most cited as a possible vice-president is intelligence chief
Omar Suleiman, another former officer.


Egyptian officials have said Mubarak will decide what he will do
after parliament passes a law on arrangements for the election.

It will be Egypt's first presidential vote with more than one
candidate after a constitutional amendment in May abolished the old
system of referendums on one candidate chosen by parliament, which is
dominated by the NDP.

Opposition groups say conditions for fielding candidates are too
restrictive and the ruling party will have unfair advantages through
access to the state media.

The conditions rule out a challenge by the Muslim Brotherhood, which
is the largest opposition group but which the government refuses to
recognize. Analysts say other potential candidates will not pose a
serious challenge to Mubarak.

A source who heard Awad speak to British journalists quoted him as
saying Mubarak did not necessarily expect to win by a massive margin.

In the last four presidential referendums, the government has
released figures showing more than 90 percent support.

"President Mubarak would be happy to be re-elected with only 65
percent," Awad was quoted as saying.

Mubarak's 41-year-old son Gamal heads the policies secretariat in the
ruling party but has repeatedly denied that he has immediate plans to
seek the presidency