Mubarak's coma escalates fears of further unrest

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has been reportedly taken off life support and is in a coma, adding more tension to Egypt’s delicate political situation.

Results of the recent presidential election are only to be confirmed by Egypt’s election commission on Thursday, but the campaigns of Mubarak’s former prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, Mohammed Morsi, both claim they won.

According to the Guardian newspaper, “no matter who [the commission] names as victor, his rival is likely to reject the result as a fraud.”

More than 50,000 protesters gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square Tuesday night to protest a move by Egypt’s military last week to overpower the next president. Supported by a decision from a court of judges appointed by Mubarak, generals dissolved the Muslim Brotherhood dominated Parliament, imposing a new interim constitution which gives the military broad powers to draft a new permanent constitution.

From the New York Times:

Mr. Mubarak’s lawyer told CNN on Tuesday that his wife, Suzanne Mubarak, was by his side, and he expressed anger that Egypt’s military rulers had not moved him to the hospital sooner.

It will be their responsibility “if he dies,” the lawyer said.

In Tahrir Square, the news of Mr. Mubarak’s health was met with familiar doubts. “They say Mubarak really died,” said Hatem Moustafa, 22. “Maybe this time it is really true.”

But he was not convinced. “I think the military council is saying this so that we will leave Tahrir Square,” Mr. Moustafa said. “They would say anything to get us to leave the Square.”

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