President Mohamed Morsy was snubbed by the National Salvation Front (NSF), which boycotted a national dialogue session on Monday evening.
Presidential assistant Pakinam Al -Sharkawy said on Tuesday that political groups that participated in the dialogue don’t represent a wide spectrum of Egyptians.
In a press conference, Al-Sharkawy told reporters that the presidency had been quite flexible with the demands of the political groups ahead of the dialogue session: “They used to talk about a missing agenda to the meeting and we had prepared one. The dialogue is open to additions or amendments to the agenda.”
Al-Sharkawy called upon opposition political groups to join the roundtable because “the country needs it.”
Commenting on the recent clashes in Port Said, presidential advisor Ayman Aly said dialogue with families in Port Said is “present and continuing.”
Aly referred to discussions with Morsy on his decision to announce the state of emergency and said, “political groups said it wasn’t the ideal option, but the decision came after repeated requests to the president.”
Monday afternoon’s meeting was attended by predominantly Islamist representatives including Al-Salam Nasr of the Building and Development Party, Hatem Azzam of the Civilisation Party, Abul Ela Al-Mady of Al-Wasat Party, Saad Al-Katatny of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), Abdel Moneim Aboul-Fotouh of the Strong Egypt Party, Younis Makhyoun of Al-Nour Party, Mohamed Selim Al-Awa, and Ayman Nour.
Invitations for national dialogue were boycotted by parties that fall under the National Salvation Front, including the Free Egyptians Party, the Social Popular Alliance, Al-Wafd Party, Al-Dostour Party and the Egyptian Socialist Democratic Party.
After Morsy’s address calling the opposition to the table, the NSF reiterated its previous position that it would not meet with the president until he met certain demands. It also called on Morsy to take on the responsibility for the dozens of violent deaths across the country since last week.
In a brief online statement FJP head Al-Katatny said: “I attended the national dialogue on behalf of the FJP to amend the election law and to alleviate tensions. I hope some review their positions and join us to address attempts to spread chaos and violence.”
In a television interview following the meeting, Ayman Nour, the head of Ghad Al-Thawra Party and the only non-Islamists who attended the dialogue, said the dialogue would expand to include more political and national forces. Nour also claimed that the president had pledged to re-examine certain parts of the new constitution, especially parts that deal with the status of women. He added that a second session would take place in one week.
Aboul-Fotouh repeated the proposal he presented earlier this week, stressing that the Muslim Brotherhood, FJP and presidency need to meet with leaders of the NSF in order to ameliorate the polarisation that has taken over the country’s politics. He added that the curfew should be reduced to only one or two weeks, depending on the stability of the situation in the Canal cities of Port Said, Suez and Ismailya where it was implemented.
Makhyoun, in a Tuesday press conference following the dialogue, proposed that a national coalition government be formed to ensure the integrity of upcoming parliamentary elections. He also criticised Prime Minister Hisham Qandil for “not having any vision of a real programme.”