CAIRO: Led by President Hosni Mubarak, the National Democratic Party (NDP) is the ruling party in Egypt, occupying the majority of seats in the People’s Assembly (the lower house of parliament).
The party was established in 1978 when late President Anwar Sadat split the Arab Socialist Union into three separate political organizations representing the right, center and left wings of the political spectrum.
The NDP emerged from the centrist bloc, which was known as the Arab Socialist Organization of Egypt until 1978, when the party adopted its current name.
The NDP was established with the intent of furthering the ideals of the July 1952 revolution that marked the end of the monarchy and British interference in Egyptian political life.
Sadat led the party until 1981 when Mubarak, then the vice president, became president following the assassination of Sadat.
The party’s current secretary general is Safwat El-Sherif, who is also the Shoura Council (the upper house of the parliament) speaker.
Since its founding, the NDP has always dominated Egypt’s representative institutions. Based on the party’s official website, it has won majorities ranging from 75 percent to 95 percent in every parliamentary election since 1979. Around 2 million Egyptians are NDP members, according to the party’s official website.
President Mubarak’s 48-year-old son, Gamal, is a former banker who has regularly appeared in the political scene in Egypt since 2000 when he was nominated by his father to be the head of the NDP Policies Committee. Gamal Mubarak is also the Assistant Secretary General of the NDP.
Since 2002, the party’s leadership has been polarized between an old guard headed by El-Sherif, and a new guard affiliated with the business elite Gamal Mubarak currently heads.
Al-Watany Al-Youm newspaper is the NDP’s mouthpiece. Some analysts believe that the state-run media also tends to provide biased coverage of the party’s activities.
The new guard of businessmen affiliated to Gamal Mubarak, which saw a remarkable rise inside the NDP from 2000 and onward, has dominated the cabinet since 2004 under the leadership of Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif.
In 2005, the party nominated President Mubarak to run for Egypt’s first multi-candidate presidential elections. Mubarak received 88.5 percent of the vote, with registered voters posted approximately 6,316,784 votes in the president’s favor.
Last month, a party senior official announced that Mubarak, who by 2011 will be 83 years old, will be the NDP’s presidential candidate for the 2011 presidential elections.
In 2005, the NDP won a sweeping majority of seats in the PA elections. A total of 311 MPs are NDP members.
About three weeks before this year’s PA elections, the NDP unprecedentedly fielded candidates to contest all 508 seats, with some constituencies featuring more then one NDP candidate vying for the same seat, a move seen by analysts as an indication of the party’s inability to manage its internal differences.
Two weeks before the PA polls scheduled for Nov. 28, the party announced that it had pledged “to achieve average growth of not less than 7 percent a year” during the next five-year parliamentary term.
The Party Representation in the PA Elections:
2005 311 seats (including 166 independents who joined the NDP after the election)
2000 388 seats (including 218 independents)
1995 417 seats (including 99 independents)
1990 386 seats
1987 339 Seats
1984 394 Seats
1979 347 Seats
Major Party Figures:
Hosni Mubarak: Chairman, President of the Republic
Yousef Wali: Vice Chairman, former Minister of Agriculture
Safwat El-Sherif: Secretary General, Speaker of the Shoura Council
Gamal Mubarak: Assistant Secretary General, head of the Policies Secretariat
Zakaria Azmi: Assistant Secretary General, Presidential Chief of Staff
Mufid Shehab: Assistant Secretary General, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs
Ahmed Fathi Sorour: Speaker of the People’s Assembly
Ahmed Ezz: Secretary for Organizational Affairs, head of Chairman of the Planning and Budget Committee of the People’s Assembly