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Mubarak Lives but Tension Rises In Egypt

After spending hours at the Intensive Care Unit of the Maadi Military Hospital, near Cairo, family sources said that the ousted Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak,has been revived and is on an artificial respirator.

The news came as tension continues to build in Cairo over delays in announcing the presidential run – off election, a situation that has led to the two leading candidates claiming victory.

Though a family source claimed that Mubarak’s health was stable and that he was recovering rapidly, military sources quoted by foreign media insist that he remained unconscious.

His wife, Suzanne, reportedly arrived at the hospital to be at her husband’s side while his sons, Gamal and Alaa, who are currently awaiting trial for corruption, were on Wednesday issued permits to visit their father at Maadi Hospital. It could not be ascertained if they eventually succeeded in seeing him yesterday.

Eighty four year old Mubarak’s state of health has been full of drama since he was moved out of the Tora prison hospital for urgent medical attention at the Army hospital late Tuesday.

The octogenarian, who is serving a life jail term after being convicted by the Egyptian court on October 2 for failing to stop the killing of protesters during the uprising that ousted him last year, was rushed out of the prison after having a stroke.

No sooner than he arrived the Military Hospital, than the state official news agency, MENA, declared him ‘clinically dead’.

“Hosni Mubarak is clinically dead. Medical sources told MENA his heart had stopped beating and did not respond to defibrillation,” the agency declared Tuesday.

The story later changed as doctors attending to him were able to revive him. The revival was not total still. Mubarak, whose heart was said to be failing, was put on life support device throughout the night.

As at the afternoon yesterday, his breathing had been partially restored, but he was still in coma.

The former President’s health fluctuated as thousands of his countrymen gathered at the Tahrir Square, Cairo and also in Alexander to protest against what is seen as the military’s interference in the country’s transition to democracy.

Tension has been building over some of the actions of the military rulers, who took over the power after the ouster of the 84-year-old dictator.

Apart from a court order which declared the newly-elected Muslim Brotherhood – dominated legislature illegal and ordered its dissolution, Egyptians grumble about the uncertainty that accompanied the Presidential election wrapped up last Sunday.

The nation’s electoral body has not helped matters. Initially, it promised to announce the winner of the election on Thursday but has since said it needs more time to look at over 400 complaints by candidates.

Now, candidates for the two contesting sides are already claiming victory.The Muslim Brotherhood said its candidate, Mohammed Mursi, won the run-off vote in the early hours of Monday morning, and on Tuesday provided what it said were certified copies of ballot tallies to bolster the claims.

But Mursi’s rival Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak’s last prime minister, has also claimed victory, with his campaign accusing the Brotherhood of issuing false figures and insisting official results will declare him president.

Notwithstanding the declaration of victory by both sides, civilians seemed set on a collision course with the ruling military council, which issued a constitutional declaration Sunday night claiming sweeping powers.

The paper declared that the council would retake legislative powers from the Islamist-dominated parliament after the country’s constitutional court last Thursday ordered the body dissolved.

And it grants the council veto power over the drafting of a permanent constitution, angering activists who denounced the declaration and an earlier order giving the army the power to arrest civilians, as a “coup.”

The Brotherhood also rejected the declaration, insisting the parliament retains legislative power, and pledging to participate in “popular activities” against it.

On Tuesday night, the Muslim Brotherhood joined a mass demonstration in Tahrir, which attracted over 15,000 protesters, some celebrating Mursi’s win as well as denouncing the military move.

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