Cairo - Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit has signalled that President Hosny Mubarak will be a presidential candidate in the 2011 elections during an interview with a pan-Arab newspaper published on Friday.
Although Mubarak has in the past declared that he would rule until his last breath, his recent health problems and his delay in announcing whether he will seek reelection have fueled speculation in Egypt about his plans.
But in the front-page interview with al-Hayat, Aboul Gheit predicted that Mubarak would be reelected for a sixth term in office.
'When we elect the president of Egypt in 2011, I believe it will be President Mubarak,' he was quoted as saying.
The ruling National Democratic Party has said the 82-year-old president is its candidate for the presidential poll, but he has not officially accepted.
Mubarak has been in power for 29 years, making him the longest- serving ruler since Muhammad Ali in the early 19th century.
He has never named a successor, but his health problems have revitalised a debate in Egypt's political circles about what will happen after his reign ends.
Aboul Gheit rejected notions that there were back-handed power deals in place to position the president's son, Gamal, to inherit the top post.