CAIRO: President Hosni Mubarak said during his speech in parliament Sunday that he will “do anything to support the establishment of a real Palestinian nation with Jerusalem as its capital, according to MP Aly Laban.
“It is the first time he says he wants Jerusalem to be the capital of Palestine, Laban told Daily News Egypt.
President Hosni Mubarak’s inaugural speech for the new parliamentary session centered mostly on the international economic crisis and the new draft laws that will be discussed in parliament during this round.
The inaugural session was attended by members of the Peoples’ Assembly (PA) and Shoura council, Egypt’s lower and upper houses of parliament.
Mubarak spoke about the international economic crisis and its expected affects on Egypt, Laban said, however, The speech did not provide practical solutions to the economic crisis that would have a direct impact on the Egyptian citizen like the increase in the unemployment rate and prices.
Mubarak said that the cost of credit in Egypt should be lowered to maintain the competitiveness of the Egyptian economy and promote investment.
I have asked the government to increase investment spending and to bear a slight increase in the budget deficit which we will recover in the coming years without additional burdens on citizens, Mubarak said.
Egypt had previously said its budget deficit would be stable during the current fiscal year at 6.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), reported Reuters.
However, Mubarak did not give further details on the deficit, which the government had promised to reduce to 4.5 percent of GDP by 2010.
According to Mohamed Khalil Kwaitah, MP affiliated with the National Democratic Party (NDP), Mubarak spoke about the top draft laws that have been finalized by Cabinet and sent to the PA for approval.
[Amendments] to the personal status law is a top priority of this parliamentary session . President Mubarak has indicated in his speech that the suggested changes to the current law will make sure that women have more rights, Kwaitah said.
According to Kwaitah, some of the amendments expected for the personal status law include making DNA tests the main method of proving parentage.
The new law guaranteeing mental patients rights as well as the controversial law on organ transplant will also top the agenda at this year’s parliamentary round.
Mubarak also spoke about the importance of including more women in the PA. Currently, there are only four elected female PA members and five appointed by the president.
Laban, who is also a member of the PA s education committee, told Daily News Egypt that Mubarak suggested the establishment of not-for-profit universities to provide better education at a lower cost to address the education problems facing the country.
However, Laban added, the president has been promising to build 17 universities for four years now, and the MP suggested instead lowering the fees of private universities.
I think it will be much easier than building new ones, he added. -Additional reporting by Reuters and AP.