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Constitutional jurist Ibrahim Darweesh says that amendments to the constitution have already settled the outcome of the upcoming presidential election in favor of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) candidate, particularly Gamal Mubarak, the head of the NDP's Policy Secretariat and the son of President Hosni Mubarak.
"Article 76 of the Egyptian constitution is the worst article in the history of international charters," said Darweesh of a constitutional amendment that requires presidential candidates to have support from a political party that has been in existence for at least five years. The article also stipulates that candidates must have support from at least five per cent of elected members in both the Shura Council and the People's Assembly.
Darweesh described article 76 as a "defect" in the Egyptian constitution. "There is not even a one in a billion chance that someobody from outside the NDP will assume the presidency," he said.
"Egypt has many figures fit for putting themselves forth as presidential candidates. Yet, nobody can run under President Hosni Mubarak and his son Gamal," Darweesh said.
A number of prominent Egyptians have mentioned the possibility of running for president including former Foreign Minister Amr Moussa and head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei.
The constitutional expert believes that article 76 was introduced with the purpose of installing Gamal Mubarak in the presidency.
"Gamal is coming, coming, coming to presidency," he said.
The ruling party has guaranteed that the coming election will be transparent and fairly conducted. Darweesh, however, says that these guarantees have been made in previous elections. "No fairness has been there for the past 50 years," he said.
According to Darweesh, Gamal Mubarak has already assumed some presidential powers, including meeting with ministers. President Mubarak's statement in Washington that Gamal has not discussed his nomination to the presidency does not negate the fact that article 76 has already been passed with the intention of placing Gamal in the presidency, said Darweesh.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.