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Mubarak Pledges Fair Elections Later This Year

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has promised that elections scheduled for later this year will be fair - in his first public address since returning from Germany nearly a month ago.

During a televised address Saturday, President Mubarak also said he welcomes social movements as long as they do not defy the constitution. However, he said Egypt's future will not be decided by harsh or abusive demands.

There have been a growing number of protests in Egypt calling for constitutional reforms that open up the political process and bring an end to emergency laws allowing indefinite detentions.

President Mubarak returned nearly a month ago from Germany, where he underwent gallbladder surgery on March 6.

Mr. Mubarak has ruled Egypt for nearly 30 years. His ruling party is expected to dominate this year's polls.

President Mubarak has not said if he will run for president again next year. Many political experts also believe the president is grooming his son, Gamal, to take over.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.