The top executive committee of Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), which includes strongman Hosni Mubarak’s son Gamal, resigned en masse on Saturday, state television reported.
“The members of the executive committee resigned from their posts. It was decided to name Hossam Badrawi secretary general of the party,” the regime’s channel announced amid ongoing opposition street protests.
Badrawi, who is reputed to have good relations with opposition figures, replaces Safwat al-Sherif as head of the executive and also Gamal Mubarak as head of the party’s political bureau, it said.
The NDP executive has six members, including its secretary general. Gamal was its number two, and also headed the 30-strong political committee.
Hosni Mubarak remains president of both the party and of Egypt, despite the nationwide street revolt against his rule.
“As president of the National Democratic Party, President Mubarak decided to name Hossam Badrawi secretary general of the party,” a news ticker on state television said, dismissing rumours that the president had quit the party.
While Egypt’s army seems ready for the moment to keep Mubarak in power, the network of wealthy businessmen who once dominated the ruling party have been moved out of key positions in an attempt to placate popular opinion.
Former general Ahmed Shafiq formed a new government on January 31, and Mubarak has vowed to stand down in September when elections will be held to replace the man who has ruled since 1981, but the protests continue.
Gamal Mubarak, the president’s 47-year-old banker son, was once mooted as a potential successor, but his standing has slipped during the crisis, which has seen military figures return to the foreground of Egyptian politics.