Last Updated: Tue Feb 15, 2011 07:10 am (KSA) 04:10 am (GMT)

Ezz denies responsibility for forcing Mubarak to quit

Ahmed Ezz a steel tycoon and former senior figure in the ruling party  
Ahmed Ezz a steel tycoon and former senior figure in the ruling party

Controversial Egyptian businessman and former ruling party secretary general Ahmed Ezz denied in an interview with Al Arabiya TV on Monday being responsible for inciting public anger and protests that forced former President Hosni Mubarak to quit after 30 years in power.

Ezz rejected accusations that he masterminded the vote fraud that led his party to a landslide 95 percent victory in the last parliamentary elections. He said his main job as NDP's secretary general was to prepare the party and its candidates for the election. He said the state was responsible for any irregularities that happened during the vote.

Ezz was widely blamed for using his business influence and political connections to engineer widespread fraud and grant the ruling NDP party unprecedented victory. Some accusations against Ezz claim that the man was trying to show the Mubaraks how successful the ruling party became under his leadership.

He told Al Arabiya that it was difficult to predict NDP future now but indicated that party would likely remain politically active.

He also denied climbing high ranks in the ruling party using his connections with Gamal Mubarak, the head of the policies committee in the party.

Ezz was also accused of being part of what came to be known as marriage between money and state when many business tycoons began taking positions in the government and in the ruling party. Gamal Mubarak himself was a banker before becoming a top NDP official in what appeared to many as preparation for succeeding his 82-year old father as president.

Ezz, a steel tycoon, denied having engaged in any special business dealings with political figures, saying that all his companies were listed in the bourse and that shares were available for the general public.

Ezz acknowledged that the NDP did not expect demonstrations to escalate to a full-fledged uprising that could oust the regime. He rejected, however, describing what happened as a revolution and refused to apologize to the people as demanded by some protesters.

*(Translated from Arabic by Mustapha Ajbaili)

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