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CAIRO, Egypt - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Saturday ordered a revision of the country's election laws and said multiple candidates could run in the nation's presidential elections, a scenario Mubarak hasn't faced since taking power in 1981.
An open election has long been a demand of the opposition but was repeatedly rejected by the ruling party, with Mubarak only last month dismissing calls for reform as "futile."
The sudden shift was the first sign from the key U.S. ally that it was ready to participate in the democratic evolution in the Middle East, particularly historic elections in Iraq and the Palestinian territories. Mubarak's government has faced increasingly vocal opposition at home and growing friction with the United States over the lack of reform.