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NSF laughs off eleventh hour dialogue

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Opposition leaders say it is far too late for discussions on the constitution, which were requested by the Constituent Assembly and Muslim Brotherhood

Leaders of the National Salvation Front head civil parties march to Tahrir against presidential constitutional decree. (DNE / Basil Al-Dabh)

Leaders of the National Salvation Front head civil parties march to Tahrir against presidential constitutional decree. (DNE / Basil Al-Dabh)

“We will not go to the meeting,” said Emad Abu Ghazi, political secretary of Al-Dostour Party, in response to the request by the Constituent Assembly for opposition leaders to take part in a Friday meeting to discuss the draft constitution.

Representatives from the Constituent Assembly sent out an invitation for a meeting at the Shura Council to Al-Dostour Party head Mohamed ElBaradei, Conference Party head Amr Moussa, Dignity Party head Hamdeen Sabahi and Al-Wafd Party head El-Sayed El-Badawi. The goal was to discuss the opposition members’ objections to the draft constitution.

“What is the point of the dialogue, it’s twelve hours before the second round of voting in the constitutional referendum,” said National Salvation Front (NSF) spokesperson Khaled Dawoud. All four invitees are members of the NSF.

The main reservation from the opposition to meet at this late point is that they have long made clear their demand to delay the referendum vote, and seeing this demand ignored, a meeting seems irrelevant.

“These guys have finished their job,” said Dawoud of the Constituent Assembly, “what are we going to debate? They have no mandate to call for a dialogue after they finished their job of drafting the constitution.”

The call for dialogue comes after one half of referendum voting, and just a day before the second half of voting. Because of this, the NSF feels that the only real purpose the request will serve is as propaganda to paint the NSF as disinterested in dialogue.

The Muslim Brotherhood also invited the NSF to sit down with their Supreme Guide, Mohamed Badie.

“What is the official capacity of the supreme guide?” asked Dawoud, “again that was another surprise for us.” Dawoud called the supreme guide an unelected president, saying that the only purpose for this request was to use the NSF’s rejection as propaganda.

Waleed Shalaby, an advisor to the supreme guide said, ElBaradei and Sabahi “rejected our request.”

Two other points were made about the strange nature of these requests for dialogue.

One is that they both came through the media, which Dawoud said showed “a lack of seriousness.”

They also came less than a week after a news conference where Dawoud said the NSF was accused of “accepting billions of dollars from abroad to distort the election. And now they say they want to talk with us?”


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