Egypt ruling party gives secretary general new term

Egypt’s ruling party gave ageing politician Safwat el-Sherif another term as party secretary general on Monday, ending speculation that President Hosni Mubarak’s son Gamal might take that position.

Sherif (73) has been near the top of the National Democratic Party (NDP) since its foundation in 1977 and has been secretary general since 2002. He has been prominent in Egyptian politics since the 1960s.

The secretariat of the party elected Sherif to the post at the suggestion of Mubarak, who chaired the meeting, the state news agency Mena reported.

The NDP is now holding its annual conference in Cairo but the meeting has brought few surprises or clear indications of how the party plans to handle the succession to Mubarak (79) whose current presidential term expires in 2011.

The president is widely believed to be grooming Gamal (43) to succeed him.

On Saturday the party amended its internal structure in such a way that no one could dispute on constitutional grounds any decision to choose Gamal Mubarak as NDP presidential candidate.

The change created a new “supreme council” for the party, incorporating a group of which Gamal is already a member. The supreme council would choose the party’s candidate from among its members, who number several dozen.
- Reuters

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