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Gamal Mubarak, the younger of deposed President Hosni Mubarak’s two sons, was the deputy secretary general of the National Democratic Party and head of its policy committee. He joined the NDP in 2000 and quickly rose to a position of influence, bringing supporters from the business community with him. Gamal’s role within the party was particularly influential because the NDP policy committee served as a platform that shaped government policies between 2002 and 2010. He was a leading advocate of economic reforms and was instrumental in cabinet appointments of technocratic ministers since 2004. An investment banker and financial consultant by profession, Gamal served as an executive in London for Bank of America International from 1988 to 1994.
There was growing speculation that Gamal Mubarak was being groomed for succession to the presidency from 2000 on. Observers interpreted constitutional amendments in 2005 instituting direct popular election of the president and in 2007 establishing complicated eligibility requirements for presidential candidates as efforts by President Mubarak to prepare the way for a succession that would have a veneer of popular legitimacy. Despite more than a decade of efforts to cultivate a political base, however, Gamal lacked popular appeal and his constituency remained limited to businesspeople and the upper-middle class that supported his neoliberal economic agenda and secular, modernist outlook. There were persistent reports that Egypt’s military leaders and members of the NDP old guard were skeptical of his leadership abilities.
Opposition to Gamal’s succession and to his father’s continuation in office were major factors behind the development of opposition movements, beginning with the Egyptian Movement for Change (Kifaya) founded in 2004 and including the April 6 Youth movement established in 2008 and the National Association for Change in 2010. As President Mubarak’s health began to fail in mid-2010, Gamal’s supporters attempted to counter these efforts by launching pro-Gamal campaigns such as the Popular Coalition for Supporting Gamal Mubarak, which disseminated posters and gathered signatures in an attempt to boost his popularity and legitimacy.
Gamal Mubarak kept a low profile during the protests that swept Egypt starting on January 25, 2011. On February 3, state television quoted then-Vice President Omar Suleiman as saying that Gamal would not run for president. On February 5, Gamal resigned from his party post along with the rest of NDP’s policy committee. On February 22, Egypt’s Attorney General asked for the assets of Mubarak’s immediate family, including Gamal Mubarak, to be frozen. Gamal and his older brother ‘Alaa were detained for questioning on April 13 on accusations of corruption and of instigating the use of violence against demonstrators.