Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Towards a "Third Intifada"?

Read more

FOCUS

What solutions for California's overcrowded prisons?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza conflict: Palestinians mark sombre Eid

Read more

WEB NEWS

Celebrities in the Israel-Gaza crossfire

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Israeli strike takes out Gaza power station

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French newspaper apologises for Sarkozy story

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Last-ditch talks aim to avert Argentina default

Read more

DEBATE

Europe's Plan for Putin: Will Russian Leader Bend After New Sanctions? (part 2)

Read more

  • Deadly strike hits Gaza market despite four-hour 'truce'

    Read more

  • Fourth female suicide bomber targets Nigerian city

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • US rebounds to 4% growth in second quarter

    Read more

  • Suspect in Jewish Museum attack charged with 'terrorist' murder

    Read more

  • Women should not laugh in public, Turkey's deputy PM says

    Read more

  • Video: Coping with rocket attacks in Israel’s Sderot

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

  • France evacuates nationals, closes embassy in Libya

    Read more

  • Dozens killed in stampede at Guinea rap concert

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fire rages on

    Read more

  • In pictures: ن - a sign of support for Iraq’s persecuted Christians

    Read more

Africa

Mubarak health confusion adds to poll tension

Text by Julien PEYRON

Latest update : 2012-06-20

Egyptians on Tuesday greeted reports and denials of former President Hosni Mubarak’s death with scepticism, weary of additional political drama as the country awaits the official results of the presidential election.

Confusion has reigned over Egyptian news these past two days, with one conflicting report after another concerning the outcome of the presidential election and the declining health of former President Hosni Mubarak.

The 84-year-old ousted leader suffered a stroke on Tuesday night and was transferred from Cairo’s Tora prison, where he is serving a life sentence, to the Mahdi military hospital.

State news agency MENA reported Tuesday evening that he was “clinically dead.” A few hours later, state TV and military sources denied this with reports that he had been placed on life support.

Swirling rumours

The Egyptians, who were once again demonstrating in Tahrir Square, greeted these contradictory reports with scepticism, according to FRANCE 24 special correspondent Gallagher Fenwick.

“There is a lot of confusion,” Fenwick said. “People are very doubtful because there has been widespread speculation about the rapidly deteriorating health of the former president. Remember ten days ago before his verdict his lawyers were saying he was in a coma, and two days later he appeared in the courtroom looking pretty healthy.”

In Tahrir Square, Chadil, a member of the January 25 movement that precipitated Egypt’s revolution, told FRANCE 24’s Pauline Garaude: “I don’t care about Mubarak dying. What matters is the revolution, not his death.”

Gilles Kepel, an expert on the Middle East, said he was not surprised about the Egyptians’ lack of reaction. “They say Mubarak belongs to the past. The big issue today is the election.”

Indeed, it was not Mubarak’s health that brought thousands to Tahrir Square on Tuesday night, but a political rally.

The Muslim Brotherhood had urged its supporters to come and celebrate what it considered to be the victory of its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, in the country’s presidential race.

'Electoral drama'

Political tensions are running high, just three days after the second round of the country’s first free presidential election, which pitted the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi against Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister of the Mubarak era.

Both candidates have already claimed victory, although official results are not expected until Thursday.

Middle East expert Gilles Kepel, who has been in Cairo for several days already, described the confusion generated by conflicting rumours: “Yesterday morning it was Morsi, then a few hours later it was Shafiq, as if it were part and parcel of something done on purpose so that there will be no real mobilisation.”

He added: “The reports and denials about Mubarak’s death are also part of this ‘electoral comedy’, so to speak.”

Tension had already escalated on Saturday, when the army granted itself sweeping legislative powers, right after dissolving the Islamist-dominated parliament.

The twin moves had prompted the Muslim Brotherhood to slam “a coup against the whole democratic process", suggesting the next head of state would not be able to pass a single law without military approval.

 

Date created : 2012-06-20

  • EGYPT

    On Tahrir Square, ‘nobody cares about Mubarak’

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Egypt's Mubarak 'in coma'

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Egypt’s military council pledges power handover

    Read more

COMMENT(S)