( AP ) - President Hosni Mubarak's son denied Monday that the ruling party had made it easier for him to succeed his father by changing its bylaws.
Gamal Mubarak said the change two days ago had been expected and was not done to make it more constitutionally acceptable for him to become president.
"It was not a surprise that we changed the bylaws of the core party system," he told reporters at the National Democratic Party's ninth general convention. "If you would like to take it out of its context and build upon it some speculations, it's your right."
Gamal Mubarak, 43, has risen dramatically in the ranks of the party since its last convention in 2002 and is now the No. 2 and head of the powerful policy making committee.
Three years ago, there were angry protests against his possible succession - which father and son have repeatedly denied. Recently, demonstrations have waned but, talk of succession picked up over the summer following rumors that that the 79-year-old Mubarak was ill.
On Saturday, the NDP passed an amendment creating an overarching party committee that will choose a presidential candidate from its 50 members, one of whom is Gamal.
Previously, the NDP's bylaws said its presidential candidate had to be the head of the Political Bureau and head of the entire party, a title currently belonging to the elder Mubarak.
But Egyptian constitutional amendments passed this spring called for all parties to form a Supreme Committee and chose their presidential candidates from within that committee.
National Democratic members have denied that the bylaw changes elevate Gamal Mubarak's likelihood of succeeding his father.
"We have a clear framework for presidential elections," Gamal Mubarak said.
He also denounced proposed U.S. legislation to cut Egypt's aid until the country takes steps to curb police abuses and stop arms smuggling into the neighboring Gaza Strip, calling it an "unacceptable" interference in Egypt's internal affairs.