Some, even in the opposition, believe it should, because a military-backed candidate would have wider acceptance.The story should have discussed the role of the security services, as opposed to the army, in the succession question.
But the army — led by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, a Mubarak loyalist — has been largely segregated from Egypt's politics since the assassination of former President Anwar Sadat by Islamist army officers. That has left the stage open for Egypt's first civilian president.
"We have distanced ourselves from politics long ago," said former Staff Maj. Gen. Hossam Sewilam, who once headed the Armed Forces Strategic Research Center. "If they elect Fifi Abdou" — a famed Egyptian belly-dancer — "or (Gamal) Mubarak, they are free. It's not our business."
With the military on the sidelines, the government has to show strength to keep succession smooth, said Gihad Auda, a senior member of the ruling National Democratic Party.