CAIRO: Four of Egypt’s opposition parties will hold a conference next month to discuss the country’s political future, specifically how to amend the constitution to free up political participation.
The three-day conference will begin March 13, according to Al-Wafd party’s Secretary General Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour, reported Al-Masry Al-Youm.
Three of the four parties involved in this coalition did not attend the meeting of opposition movements held by former IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei last week, out of which emerged the National Association for Change, with the same stated aims.
Besides Al-Wafd, the coalition includes the Tagammu, Nasserist and Democratic Front parties. Only the Democratic Front party was represented at the meeting with ElBaradei and involved with the National Association for Change.
The intent of the conference is to invite 100 public personalities – including 40 from the parties themselves – to discuss how to amend the Egyptian constitution to ensure the separation of powers, amend Articles 76 and 77 and guarantee judicial oversight of elections.
This announcement, so soon after ElBaradei’s meeting with Egypt’s opposition movements, will likely fuel speculation that this is meant to be a rival opposition bloc to any movement organized by ElBaradei.
It was only last Tuesday that ElBaradei hosted the majority of the country’s opposition groups in his home to decide upon a course of action regarding constitutional change.
From that meeting the formation of the National Association for Change was announced, to push for constitutional change and amendments to the articles that govern the presidential elections.
ElBaradei’s stated intent to run for president provided the constitution was changed to ensure free and fair elections has galvanized the political landscape in Egypt, and he has become a figurehead for many who would like to see the transfer of power in the country.
“We want to change the political landscape, former coordinator of the Kefaya movement George Ishaq told Daily News Egypt after the meeting, “and bring an end to the emergency law, call for judicial oversight in elections and amend Articles 76, 77 and 88 of the constitution.
Ishaq believed that in ElBaradei, there was now a personality behind which the Egyptian people could gravitate because “these demands will not be met without popular pressure.