Thursday, November 20, 2003

Egypt: Mubarak health scare

The man is 77 years old ... and according to reports, he's in good health. I don't know how much you can read into today's incident but it's certainly a good reminder that he's mortal.
President Hosni Mubarak interrupted a nationally televised speech for some 45 minutes on Wednesday because of what were described as minor health problems, the unusual pause underscoring the fact that he has never designated a successor.

Senior cabinet ministers moved quickly to assure the nation that a combination of flu, antibiotics and the daily fast of Ramadan had momentarily felled the Egyptian leader, who returned to the podium in Parliament to finish his speech.

... He was almost all the way through his speech when his words suddenly slurred, he coughed and he appeared to lean on the lectern for support. The cameraman for the state-run Egyptian television pulled away and then the picture was cut, but the sound continued and shouting could be heard from the parliamentary chamber.

After a brief pause the television began broadcasting pictures from the early days of his presidency combined with songs praising him, convincing some viewers that he had died.
And who would succeed Mubarak if he were to pass away ... this Atlantic Monthly article offers profiles of the two men most likely to take over ... Mubarak's son Gamal and Omar Suleiman, the intelligence chief (also mediator with the Palestinians).