Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Egypt: Kefaya distances itself from Gamal supporter

Tom Trewinnard
Bikya Masr
15 September 2009

CAIRO: Egypt’s Kefaya opposition movement has distanced itself from remarks made by founding member, Dr. Hany Anan. Speaking on Egyptian television channel O-TV last week, Anan stated that he would support Gamal Mubarak, the son and likely successor to Hosni Mubarak, as a presidential candidate on the condition that he agreed to abolish article 77 of the Egyptian Constitution, which allows presidents to hold unlimited consecutive terms in power.
Speaking to Bikya Masr, George Ishaq former Kefaya Coordinator and leading activist, said he was “very disappointed” by Anan’s comments, claiming they did not reflect the position of the movement and that Anan was “not speaking on behalf of Kefaya, but rather as an independent activist.”
Kefaya came to prominence in 2005 as a movement that aimed to bring together opposition groups against President Mubarak ahead of the 2005 presidential vote. The movement showed early signs of progress and success, garnering thousands of supports. In recent years, a string of arrests in 2006 and a dwindling support base has left the movement running on empty.
Anan’s statements are not likely to improve the embattled movement.
Clarifying Kefaya’s position regarding presidential elections due to be held in Egypt in 2011, when current president Hosni Mubarak is expected to step down, Ishaq stated that Kefaya stood for “No Gamal and no Mubarak,” emphasizing that an inheritance of power would be unacceptable. Kefaya has been an outspoken critic of the Mubarak regime.
Although the organization has been largely absent from the headlines since 2006, Ishaq expects that it will become more relevant over the next two years, as Egypt awaits life after Mubarak, who has been in power for the last 28 years, since the late Anwar Sadat was assassinated on October 6, 1981.
Ishaq added that Kefaya would not support any candidates in the 2011 presidential elections. Instead, the movement has plans to boycott the poll, which he described as “false elections” where the ruling party would “play the same old games.”
It has been widely speculated that Gamal Mubarak will be nominated as the candidate for the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), although no official announcement as to the candidates has been made and NDP officials reject the idea of an inheritance of power.
Gamal himself has repeatedly denied any desire to become Egypt’s next president, but skeptics disagree. With Anan’s recent statements, the younger Mubarak seems to be positioning himself quite nicely to take over the mantle in 2011

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