Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Elections to Watch in 2011

DECEMBER 21, 2010


Type: Presidential

Date: September

What to watch: President Hosni Mubarak has held power for almost three decades and, at age 82, shows no sign of letting go. Mubarak, who once promised to stay in office "until the last breath in my lungs and the last beat in my heart," is widely rumored to be in failing health, but most analysts still expect him to run for reelection in September. Mubarak has held power since the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981. In 2005, he was reelected in what were officially called the first multiparty elections of his presidency, but reports of fraud were widespread and the country's most popular opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, was prohibited from fielding a candidate.

The most recent parliamentary elections in November were again marred by fraud and were boycotted by prominent opposition leaders including former International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, who has also urged a boycott of next year's presidential vote.

With little in the way of credible opposition, attention is mostly focused on the Mubarak family itself. A high-ranking member of Mubarak's party said in November that the president will run for reelection "unless he chooses otherwise." Meanwhile, his son Gamal, who is being groomed as a possible replacement, is running a popular street campaign -- with his father's blessing, of course. But if the elder Mubarak runs again and wins, the real question becomes who will take power should he die in office. The answer, at least so far, is unclear.


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