Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been sworn in for a fifth term by the country’s parliament. The 77-year-old has a mandate for another six years, although observers doubt he will stay on until 2011.
Mubarak was elected on September 7 with more than 88 percent of the vote. However, turnout was only 23 percent – a fact seized on by the opposition as an indication that Egyptians do not believe they live in a real democracy. The guest of honour at the swearing-in ceremony was Libya’s leader Muammar Khadafi. In the presidential contest, the government opened the field to several candidates for the first time – it had been under pressure from the United States to further democracy. Mubarak’s closest rival for the top job, Ayman Nour, is to appear in court on forgery charges which he claims are fabricated.