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Egypt on the Road to Reform

Lauren Stone

Former Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, continues to endure health complications as he awaits his upcoming trial in August. Only days ago, Mubarak suffered a stroke and later slipped into a coma. The hospital has since stated that Mubarak has regained consciousness and is in stable condition.

Mubarak’s health has been declining since April, although rumors of his worsening health have been circulating for years. Egyptian authorities began interrogating the former Egyptian president since he stepped down from office. For several months, his lawyers have stated that he suffers from irregular heartbeats, stomach cancer complications, depression, low blood pressure, and fatigue. Despite his poor health he will face trial next month, charged with ordering the police to murder more than 840 anti-government protesters. He faces the death penalty if convicted. A judicial source states, “It is likely Mubarak’s trial will be held in a criminal court in Sharm el-Sheikh, which is being set up now by the Justice Ministry for the trial.” The same source also stated that if Mubarak’s health worsens, the trial will be held in the hospital where he is currently residing.

While Egyptians eagerly await Hosni Mubarak’s trial, the Egyptian prime minister is in the process of reforming the government. He has already fired more than 600 police officials who served under Mubarak. He kept 13 former minsters, while appointing 14 new minsters who include Mohamed Kamel Omar, Amre Helmi, and Abdelfattah al-Banna. The justice and interior ministries however, were not replaced and may cause further protests among Egyptians.

Looking forward, it is still difficult to predict the future nature of the Egyptian government. The process of reform must be handled carefully and Washington should make sure that it spells out clear guidelines for what it sees as an acceptable outcome. Sometimes the quickest path to elections does not ensure the durable success of democracy.