A New Campaign for Succession in Egypt

Election season in Egypt is turning into a mysterious time. In recent weeks, posters reading GAMAL MUBARAK: THE DREAM OF THE POOR have sprung up in impoverished neighborhoods across the country. The odd thing is that Gamal's father, octogenarian President Hosni Mubarak, has never once hinted at what, or who, might follow his reign.

The president's ruling National Democratic Party has publicly denied any ties to the growing public campaign for Gamal to run as a successor in next year's presidential election, but little happens without the regime's tacit approval in this tightly controlled state. Political analyst Mustapha Kamel Al-Sayyid says the campaign for Gamal is actually a message from midlevel party officials and business elites to the elder Mubarak that his "time has come." Conflict appears to be brewing between two camps in the ruling party. Gamal Mubarak, who worked for several years as an investment banker in London, is the business community's darling, pushing for neoliberal economic reforms. The business class is backing Gamal to assuage investors' fears of a succession crisis. The old guard is said to be hesitant over Gamal's civilian background and lack of experience, but with Egypt's rich already in his pocket, the transition could be underway.