CAIRO: President Hosni Mubarak congratulated the performance of his National Democratic Party (NDP) in carrying out its reform agenda during his closing speech at the party’s annual convention Monday night.
“The conference with its discussions has given the National Democratic Party a new push forward, he said, adding that “we are passing a critical phase between what we have achieved and what we hope to accomplish.
“We still have a lot of work in front of us to face the challenges [of this next phase], Mubarak continued, praising the party’s “fine performance. He also ordered the party to begin preparations for the 2010 parliamentary elections.
On the foreign policy front, Mubarak stressed in his speech that the Palestinian cause and the peace process would be his priority, for the absence of peace in the region is a paramount danger.
Also on the last day during the discussion on citizenship, democracy and human rights, party members criticized the government for its silence on the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Minister for parliamentary affairs Mufid Shihab responded by saying that any illegal activity by the Brotherhood would be dealt with and referred to court, alluding to recent arrests of Brotherhood members.
Shihab added that any religious slogans in the next parliamentary elections would be removed in accordance with the law.
Opposition groups, including the Brotherhood, have been scathing in their criticism of the conference and the remarks made by many of the party’s senior members regarding the opposition.
Brotherhood MP Mohamed El Beltagy said – in a concurrent conference opposition groups held to coincide with the NDP conference at the headquarters of the Democratic Front Party – that NDP attacks on the opposition, the Brotherhood and the free press was a reaction to the uncovering of corruption within the party.
A long running feud has boiled over between the NDP and the opposition, centered on expectations that Mubarak’s son, Gamal, is being groomed to succeed his father as president.
Gamal, head of the NDP’s policies committee, criticized opposition groups for promoting a negative view of the party during his Sunday speech, stating that they were trying to “create a negative mental image of the party and mobilizing public opinion against us.
Karama party leader Saad Aboud told Daily News Egypt Monday, “If they are more popular in the streets as they claim, then how come we’re mobilizing public opinion against them as Gamal Mubarak says?