Mubarak health drama adds to Egypt uncertainty
By Marwa Awad and Edmund Blair
CAIRO (Reuters) - Hosni Mubarak's move from jail to a Cairo military hospital where officials said he was slipping in and out of a coma on Wednesday created fresh uncertainty for Egyptians as officials delayed the announcement of a presidential election result.
Claims of fraud from both camps fuelled unease in a nation where rigged ballots were the norm under Mubarak and where his fellow generals have moved to curb the power of the new head of state. Now that results will not be announced on Thursday, clarity may not emerge until a full week after polling ended.
The Muslim Brotherhood, whose candidate Mohamed Morsy claimed victory on Monday, threatened to take to the streets if Ahmed Shafik, a former general and Mubarak ally, was declared the winner. However, a leading Islamist told Reuters there would be no violence of the sort that devastated Algeria in the 1990s.
And the Shafik camp, while insisting its data meant it was also confident of victory, called for unity, saying its candidate would offer senior posts to the Brotherhood and, if he lost, would accept defeat and be willing to serve under Morsy.
Exactly what ails Mubarak, 84, who ruled for 30 years till last year, is unclear, but two security sources and one of his defense lawyers described his condition as "almost stable" or "on the way to stability" in an intensive care suite, with doctors occasionally using a ventilator to help him breathe.
Though now a convict serving a life sentence, Mubarak was being treated in one of Egypt's best-equipped facilities in a leafy suburb by the Nile. It has prompted some Egyptians to suspect a ruse, engineered by the military officers who have replaced him, to get their fallen leader out from behind bars.
Mubarak's health has been a subject of intense speculation since he was jailed for life on June 2, casting a shadow over the political transition and reminding the nation that, 16 months after his fall, few questions have been answered about where Egypt is heading and whether democracy will take root.
Whoever is declared winner, the next president's powers have already been curbed in a last-minute decree issued by the army after it ordered the Islamist-led parliament dissolved. Continued...