Could democracy be coming to Egypt?
Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak last week labeled "nonsense" the rumor he had designated his son, Gamal, to succeed him.
"Even if that happened in another country, it won’t happen in Egypt," he said Thursday in an interview broadcast on Egyptian television.
Mubarak said Egypt is a republic "where there is no inheritance." The trouble is, Egypt is a republic only on paper, and Mubarak’s National Democratic Party holds all the power and represses all challengers.
Egypt’s government is an authoritarian, but not totalitarian, dictatorship. Other political parties are allowed, but they are not allowed to monitor the voting process, and that guarantees the NDP its monopoly.
Mubarak has not appointed a vice president since he took over when Egypt’s last leader, Anwar Sadat, was assassinated in 1981. Mubarak doesn’t want any would-be assassin to be able to predict who would follow him in power.
Let’s hope Mubarak’s talk of republic and "no inheritance" is serious. Like all people, Egyptians have a right to freedom and democracy.