Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's son was named the third most powerful member of the ruling party's secretariat Tuesday and assigned by his father to a new policy-making committee.
"President Hosni Mubarak, leader of the National Democratic Party, has taken the decision to name Gamal Mubarak as party political secretary," a party official announced live on state television.
The elevation of Gamal Mubarak into the leadership of the ruling party came as his father told a National Democratic Party conference it must give more room to a younger generation.
Hosni Mubarak has repeatedly denied his son is being groomed to become the next president of Egypt.
In his closing remarks to party delegates, President Mubarak said many opinions exist within the party on how it must change, but that all agree "on the need for development." He never directly mentioned his son, but said in his speech that "new generations must become involved in organized party politics. We must give more chances to youths to take their role in leadership positions everywhere."
Gamal Mubarak, 38, has been an appointed member of the party's general secretariat — which runs the party's day-to-day affairs — since 2000. He was elected to the body Tuesday as its number three leader and was appointed to head a new committee responsible for formulating party policies and government strategies.
Gamal is a graduate of the American University in Cairo, and served as a spokesman for an Egyptian-American economic advisory group. In 1999, Egyptian newspapers reported
that the younger Mubarak might head a new political
party, representing business interests. The party has never materialized.
Aside from Gamal Mubarak, only five others were new members, but all were considered close to the president's son.
Topping the secretariat list were Safwat el-Sherif, the information minister who was appointed the new party secretary-general on Tuesday, and veteran politician Kamal el-Shazli. Gamal Mubarak followed them in the ranking, AP reported.
"It is time to enhance democratic practices. We realize that can't be done in one day, but it is crucial it should be done," Gamal Mubarak said Tuesday.
Gamal Mubarak calls for democratic reforms and for politicians to be more responsive in meeting community demands, especially those of Egyptian youth. He led a high powered committee to set a plan for party reform, starting with introducing local party elections.
He has spoken broadly of the need for government to meet the expectations of Egyptian youths and society as a whole, and calls for encouraging youth to participate in party politics.
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )