CAIRO — Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak named a vice president Saturday for the first time since coming to power nearly 30 years ago. It was a clear step toward setting up a successor in the midst of the biggest challenge ever to his rule from tens of thousands of anti-government protesters.
Mubarak named his intelligence chief and close confidant Omar Suleiman, state television reported.RELATED:Column One: The pragmatic fantasyAnalysis: Obama tough, but not too tough, with Egypt
Mubarak was widely seen as grooming his son Gamal to succeed him,
possibly even as soon as in presidential elections planned for later
this year. However, there was significant public opposition to the
Suleiman has been in charge of some of Egypt's most sensitive foreign
policy issues, including the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and
His appointment as vice president answers one of the most intriguing and
most enduring political questions in Egypt: who would succeed the
Like Mubarak, Suleiman has a military background. The powerful military
has provided Egypt with its four presidents since the monarchy was
toppled nearly 60 years ago.