Friday, September 17, 2010

"A Omar Suleiman presidency would involve a 'soft coup' ..."

Oxford Analytica: Excerpts:
".... with little clarity on the answer, even if Mubarak's son Gamal and Director of General Intelligence Omar Suleiman have long been mentioned as likely candidates....
In 2002, Gamal became the head of the ruling National Democratic Party's (NDP) Policies Committee, bringing reforms to the party and the economy. .....The 'Popular Coalition', said to be financed by NDP businessmen close to Gamal, marks the first time any group has officially campaigned for a Gamal presidency. This may be Gamal's first move, attempting to generate pseudo-grassroots support.
Regime dissent? However, signals from the NDP's old guard do not clearly reflect support for Gamal......
Alternatives. Nonetheless, a second challenge to Gamal, possibly also from within the regime, has come in a poster campaign last month for Director of Intelligence Omar Suleiman. Unlike the pro-Gamal posters, these were swiftly removed, and for the first time in several years, the Egyptian press was banned from reporting on them.
  • A Suleiman presidency would necessarily involve some form of soft coup or a change to the constitution.
  • Yet the idea of a transitional presidency (Suleiman is already 75) backed by the armed forces does have followers, including among parts of the opposition.
  • Should regime and popular opposition to Gamal be strong enough, there would be a reasonable likelihood of this scenario unfolding -- especially if army intervention were required to contain protests.
  • It would probably involve parachuting Suleiman into the NDP ruling committee, or army or security service pressure on elected officials to support him as an independent.
Outlook. Gamal is well-placed to succeed, especially in light of apparently more explicit signs of support from his father,. yet a Gamal succession is not yet guaranteed:
  • Mubarak may run again if he is able. This could suggest an inability within the regime to reach a consensus -- perhaps reflecting poorly on Gamal.
  • Public opinion does matter, in so far as it is mobilised. If protests against Gamal are considerable, the regime may think twice about his presidency.
  • Gamal faces a credible challenge from Suleiman. While the latter is close to Mubarak and may find it difficult to break his loyalty to him by competing with Gamal, opposition to Gamal in the regime and on the streets may yet be enough to encourage a military soft coup..."

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