CAIRO — Posters have sprouted up around Egypt promoting the son of President Hosni Mubarak as the country's next leader, in the most overt campaign yet for a controversial father-son succession in this key US Arab ally.
For the last decade, it has been believed that Gamal Mubarak is being groomed to succeed his 82-year-old father, who has ruled Egypt for nearly 30 years. But the idea of father-son succession has raised deep opposition among many Egyptians.
Even some within the ruling party are thought to be unconvinced, and Gamal — a 46-year-old investment banker turned politician — has little popular base.
The posters suggest Gamal's supporters within the party are making a push to shore up his position with the most public campaign to date in support of his candidacy. The signs — some touting the business suit-wearing Gamal as "the dream of the poor" — appeared around Cairo and other cities over the past few weeks. Campaign leaders are also collecting signatures for a "Yes to Gamal" petition.
While the ruling National Democratic Party strongly denied any connection between the party and the pro-Gamal campaign, a party official privately told AP that "these posters were meant to be a trial balloon for Gamal's popularity in the street," he said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.