Egyptian president 'recovering'

After uncertainty pushed down share prices, German hospital releases statement.

    The condition of Mubarak, right, has troubled
    Egypt's political and economic worlds [AFP]

    "Tissue removed during the surgery was benign," it said.

    Market uncertainty

    Share prices fell in Egypt on Monday amid fears over the president's health.

    Egypt's benchmark EGX 30 index fell 3.84 percent by the close, after a fall of 2.40 percent on Sunday.

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    "There is uncertainty in the stock exchange, particularly among Egyptian investors, due to worries about the health of President Mubarak," an expert at a large financial house in Cairo told AFP on condition of anonymity.

    Egypt's al-Shorouk newspaper said an Egyptian television crew was heading to Germany to film Mubarak.

    Traders in Egypt had said the market was likely to stay under pressure until the president was seen on television.

    Mubarak, who has never appointed a vice president since he took over in 1981, handed powers temporarily to his prime minister, Ahmed Nazif, before the operation.

    Mubarak has not said whether he will run again for a sixth six-year term in the 2011 presidential election.

    Many Egyptians believe that if he does not, he will try to hand power to his politician son, Gamal, 46. Both Mubaraks deny any such plan.

    Reforms call

    Several Egyptian opposition groups called for political reforms and more freedoms in a statement on Monday at the end of a three-day conference, the official news agency MENA reported.

    The groups, which include established opposition parties such as the leftist Tagammu and the liberal Wafd, demanded an end to the concentration of power in the president's hands and reforms to laws that place restrictions on parties.

    They also called for peaceful protests ahead of parliamentary polls due in October.

    In 2005, he allowed multi-candidate elections which he won overwhelmingly but election observers said at the time there were  irregularities in the polls.

    In parliamentary elections the same year, police closed down polling stations and judges who oversaw the election said some results were rigged in favour of government candidates.

    Police often target members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood group, which controls a fifth of seats in parliament after it ran candidates as independents in the 2005 election.

    Aside from the Muslim Brotherhood, opposition groups in the country command little power, but dissidents have been galvanised by a new reform group founded by Mohammed ElBaradei, the former head of the UN nuclear agency.

    Last month, ElBaradei flew to Cairo to a rapturous welcome from supporters and formed the National Association for Change. He has said he is prepared to run against Mubarak in the 2011 presidential election.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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