Wednesday 21 March 2018

Tension ramps up in Egypt as Mubarak is put on life support

Hamza Hendawi in Cairo

EGYPT'S ousted leader Hosni Mubarak has been put on life support after his heart stopped as he arrived at a military hospital, a security official said.

The state news agency Mena said Mubarak (84) was "clinically dead" when he arrived at the hospital from prison after suffering a stroke. It said doctors used a defibrillator on him several times.

Mena initially said the efforts were not successful. But the official said Mubarak was put on life support.

Mubarak's illness adds a new element of uncertainty just as a potentially explosive fight opened over who will succeed him, with both candidates claiming to have won last weekend's presidential election.

The developments add further layers to what is threatening to become a new chapter of unrest and political power struggles in Egypt, 16 months after Mubarak was ousted by a popular uprising demanding democracy. The campaign of Mubarak's former prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, said yesterday he has won Egypt's presidential election, countering the Muslim Brotherhood's claim of victory for its candidate, Mohammed Morsi.

The election commission is to announce the official final results tomorrow and no matter who it names as victor, his rival is likely to reject the result as a fraud. If Mr Shafiq is declared winner in particular, it could spark an explosive backlash from the Brotherhood.

The Brotherhood, Egypt's most powerful political group, is already escalating its challenge against the ruling military over the generals' move this week to give themselves overwhelming authority over the next president.

Some 50,000 protesters, mostly Islamists, massed in Cairo's Tahrir Square yesterday evening chanting slogans in support of Mr Morsi and denouncing the generals' power grab.

The health crisis of Mubarak, who is serving a life prison sentence, is yet one more thing to stoke the heat. His condition took a sharp turn for the worse yesterday evening, and officials transferred him to the Maadi military hospital.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News