In a keynote speech to members of the National Democratic Party (NDP), the 41-year-old Gamal Mubarak took much of the credit for his father's 7 September election landslide and set the tone for the November parliamentary polls. 
  
"During the presidential election, the party proved its ability to modernise, proved the worth of the ideas it is has been promoting since the party took a new orientation in 2002," he said on Thursday.
  
In 2002, Gamal stepped out of his father's shadow to take the helm of the NDP's influential policies secretariat and has since led the party's reformist camp, methodically sidelining the regime's old guard. 

Inevitable changes
  
"At the 2002 conference, there was a moment of honest realisation. The party understood that change was inevitable, that changes in society had not been mirrored by changes in our party," he explained. 
  

"The political reforms we have adopted will be judged during these parliamentary elections"

Gamal Mubarak

The conference had been billed as a watershed in the party, with Gamal Mubarak gaining new prominence after masterminding his father's campaign.
  
"The conference will not only consolidate the position of reformers within the party, but will see them emerge victorious," the state-owned Al-Ahram Weekly said on Thursday. 

Succession scenario

His heightened profile in Egyptian political life has also fuelled speculation that he was being groomed for succession, a scenario that provoked virulent criticism from the opposition.
  
During the president's swearing-in ceremony in parliament on Tuesday, opposition leader Ayman Nour had planned to interrupt Mubarak as he took the oath to say Gamal should be taking it.
  
"I didn't do it because I had security officers sitting around me in parliament. But while Mubarak was taking the oath, the man who really runs this country was watching from the balcony," he said.

Key test
   

Ayman Nour believes that Gamal 
is the man who really runs Egypt

In his speech, Gamal Mubarak also outlined his party's programme and warned that the upcoming legislative elections would be a key test.
  
"The parliamentary election places the party before an important test," Gamal told thousands of delegates at the conference.
  
"The political reforms we have adopted will be judged during these parliamentary elections," which are due to kick off on 8 November, he said.
  
Gamal Mubarak added that despite the many "problems and challenges" ahead, "we approach (the elections) with confidence in our vision," saying "we will enter the election with an ambitious party programme".