Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, 82, who has been in power for the past 30 years, will contest next year’s presidential poll, a high-ranking party official said on Thursday.
“The candidate of the National Democratic Party (NDP) will be President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak. At that moment, the candidate will be Mohammed Hosni Mubarak,” Ali EL Din Hilal said in a radio interview broadcast by the Arabic-language US satellite TV channel Alhurra.
“The candidate of the National Democratic Party in October next year, God willing, will be President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak,” Hilal repeated.
Egypt is to hold a parliamentary election on November 28, with a run-off a week later, to be followed within a year by a presidential poll.
Hilal, who is in charge of communications for the NDP, later said that the president’s candidacy was in keeping with “the will of the leadership” of the ruling party.
“He is our nominee for the presidency” in the next election, said the senior official, without elaborating, although the NDP has in the past stressed that a candidate would not be decided before the end of 2010.
Mubarak has himself not stated whether he will run in the 2011 presidential vote.
During a visit to Italy in May, he replied to a question by a journalist about his possible successor by grinning, pointing upwards and saying “only God knows”.
Some of his ruling party members are known to favour pushing Mubarak’s son, Gamal, 46, who holds a senior position in the NDP, into the presidential fray, especially at times of speculation over the president’s health.
But Gamal Mubarak himself has never indicated whether he would like to take over what some fear could become a family dynasty.