President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt appeared on TV for the first time since his surgery last week, quelling rumors about his health and ability to lead the Arab world's most populous country after nearly three decades.
"He was upbeat and in very good spirits as usual. His resolve and willpower that we have witnessed all this week was very obvious this morning as he looked forward to going back to his normal life," said Dr. Markus Buechler in a televised statement, according to the Associated Press.
The incident came at a particularly sensitive time for the Egyptian regime, which is preparing for presidential elections next year that could bring a new leader to power for the first time in almost 30 years.
As the Monitor reported yesterday, democracy advocates are pushing for a free and fair election, hoping to overturn a regime that has overseen human rights abuses and intimidated opposition parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood.
A key advocate for such change, who has hinted he may run himself, is former UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei. Given his international credentials, ElBaradei could present a serious challenge to any regime attempt to transfer power from Mr. Mubarak to his son, Gamal.