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Last Updated: Monday, 17 January, 2005, 20:01 GMT
Egyptian PM backs Gamal Mubarak
Gamal Mubarak
Gamal Mubarak's background is in the financial sector
The Egyptian prime minister says the president's son, Gamal Mubarak, is well qualified to be a future leader, but his parenthood presents "an obstacle".

When asked about the controversial succession issue, Ahmed Nazif refused to rule Gamal out as future president.

Mr Nazif said Gamal deserved to be seen as a talented candidate, rather than just the president's son.

Opposition activists have staged street protests against what they see as the grooming of Gamal for the presidency.

"Being the son of the president is really to him an obstacle that he has to get through," Mr Nazif said in an interview with the Associated Press news agency.

"If he runs for an office he will be seen as coming because of his father, rather than because of his own talent. I think he deserves more than that."

Mr Nazif said he expected and hoped that the elder Mr Mubarak would stand at the next presidential referendum.

Egypt map
In the interview broadcast on al-Arabiya TV on Sunday, the president hinted strongly that he would start another six-year term.

The 76-year-old has been in power since 1981, when he took office following the assassination of Anwar Sadat.

Under Egypt's constitution, the parliament dominated by Mr Mubarak's National Democratic Party will choose a sole presidential candidate later this year.

The Egyptian public can then vote on the candidate in a yes-no referendum.

Opposition parties and civil society leaders have been calling for greater democratic freedoms and an amendment to allow for multi-candidate presidential elections.

Mr Mubarak has always ruled out any hereditary succession in favour of Gamal, but analysts say that does not exclude a transfer of power within the current constitutional set-up.

Egypt's cautious reshuffle
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01 Jan 04 |  Middle East
Country profile: Egypt
09 Jul 04 |  Country profiles
Profile: Egypt's great survivor
24 Nov 03 |  Africa

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