Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was elected chairman of the ruling party Saturday at an annual congress which seems set to strengthen his son Gamal's bid to succeed him as president.
Mubarak's leadership was unchallenged by the party's 6,700 delegates, despite the post being put to a vote for the first time since he took office in 1981. "President Mubarak was elected head of the National Democratic Party with 5,248 votes in favor," party vice president Yussef Wali told delegates gathered in Cairo.
Of the 5,310 voters, nine people voted against Mubarak, Wali said, according to AFP.
While the vote put an end to speculation of an immediate promotion for Mubarak's 43-year-old son son Gamal, seen as being groomed for power, some organizational changes to be made during this congress may bolster his chances of a shot at the top job.
A new "higher committee" will be established, whose members will have the right to come forward as presidential candidates, according to the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm. The higher committee will incorporate the influential politburo headed by Mubarak's son.