Egypt president says won't bequeath power to son

 

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, 75, whose recent illness sparked debate over his successor, said in remarks broadcast today he would not bequeath power to his son.

"The regime of Egypt is a republican regime and there is no inheritance of power," Mr Mubarak said in a telephone interview broadcast on state television.

Egyptian officials have previously dismissed talk that Mr Mubarak has been grooming his son, Gamal, as a successor. In 2002, Gamal was appointed by the ruling National Democratic Party to head a pivotal policy-making committee, a move many saw as paving the way for him to take over from Mr Mubarak.

Such rumours have persisted, despite official denials, partly because Mr Mubarak has never appointed anyone to the vice presidency, the position held by the successor in the two previous transfers of power in Egypt.

Under the constitution, if the president dies in office, the parliament speaker, now Fathi Sorour, takes over for 60 days until new presidential elections can be held.

Illness forced Mr Mubarak, who has governed Egypt since 1981, to break off a televised speech to parliament in November. After a break he returned to finish the speech.