CAIRO: Sameh Ashour, acting president of the Nasserist Party, postponed Wednesday an emergency general assembly set for March 25 and agreed to discuss the youth’s demands for reform in a series of upcoming meetings.
Ashour formed a committee to amend the party’s bylaws, allowed new memberships and agreed to integrate youth into the party’s leadership positions as demanded by the youth.
"The demands are natural in the context of dialogue inside the party and don’t reflect internal conflicts," Ashour told Daily News Egypt.
A group of youth in the Nasserist Party demanded internal reforms following the January 25 Revolution, criticizing the party’s stance on recent events and demanding the resignation of leading members to allow more opportunities for the youth.
The group held a meeting and issued a list of demands including temporarily cancelling all executive posts, announcing an interim period of six months in which a youth committee would run the party, issuing a new list of bylaws and holding new elections on all organizational levels.
When the demands were refused by the party’s leadership, the young members responded by holding a sit-in at the party’s headquarters and then an open meeting last week in which Ashour’s supporters, especially those hailing from governorates outside Cairo, reportedly sparked brawls.
The meeting concluded with calls for the party’s 2006 general assembly members to discuss a no-confidence vote for Ashour, who then called for an emergency assembly this month to discuss demands.
"We held a friendly meeting Wednesday with the party’s leadership in which they agreed to our demands as well as to holding new elections which we already started in some places," said Ali Zarzour, youth spokesman.
"We want the party to overcome this crisis peacefully, old leaderships shall participate in running the party but as an advisory body," he added.
The youth group, however, said the assembly called upon by Ashour was illegitimate since elections already began at the party and the general assembly’s four-year reign is over.
The party’s general assembly set for next July was postponed until internal elections are over.
Ashour, claiming that the events will not affect their chances in presidential and legislative elections, announced that he would run for president on behalf of the Nasserist Party.
Calls for reform swept Al-Tagammu and Al-Wafd opposition parties demanding change in leaderships and criticizing their stances during the revolution.