22 February 2020 04:04 AM

Sisi attends NYC session on Egyptian political scene

Wednesday، 16 May 2018 - 03:24 PM

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi attended on Wednesday 16/5/2018 a session titled "Youth Vision to Analyze the Egyptian Political Scene" that was held as part of the activities of the fifth National Youth Conference that kicked off earlier in the day.

The session began by screening a documentary on the history of political and partisan life in Egypt since Mohamed Ali Pasha and to date.

Then, a group of the Presidential Leadership Program youths addressed the gathering on the history of Egypt's political life and how Egypt became a modern state under the rule of Mohamed Ali Pasha and how Egypt's parliamentary life commenced and evolved under the reign of the Mohamed Ali dynasty.

They talked about the 1952 revolution and the transition from a royal to a republican regime.

They also talked about the post-revolution first national assembly (Maglis Al Umma) that was set up in Egypt in 1957. It was followed by the establishment of the union council between Egypt and Syria.

Members of the council were chosen by late president Gamal Abdel Nasser and the speakers of Egypt and Syria's parliaments.

Addressing the inaugural session titled "Youth Vision to Analyze the Egyptian Political Scene", youths participating in the presidential program said that the first popular referendum on the president's rule was held in 1956, during which late president Gamal Abdel Nasser won with a sweeping majority of 99.9 percent. Then, another referendum was followed to appoint Anwar el Sadat as Nasser's vice president.

Egypt entered a new era after formulating its permanent constitution of 1971 whereby Sadat assumed his presidential post, the youths added.

From 1979 to 1984, the Egyptian parliament, based on Egypt's constitution, approved the allocation of 30 seats to women. During the Sadat era, Egypt's political system was reshaped and changed from the unified system to the multi-party system, they explained.

Following the assassination of Sadat, another popular referendum was held and Hosni Mubarak assumed the presidential office, the youths noted.

In 2005, Egypt introduced several political reforms and in response to internal and foreign pressures, the articles pertaining to election of the president of the state in the constitution of 1971 were amended, they added.

In the same year, parliamentary elections were held, but their results were not satisfying to the Egyptian people. In 2010, another parliamentary elections were held during which the then ruling National Democratic Party achieved a sweeping majority. During that period under the reign of Mubarak, the NDP homogenized the political and economic lives in the state, leading to the outbreak of the January 2011 revolution.

Youths participating in the opening session said on May 2012 the first presidential election was held after the January Revolution and it was the second pluralist ballots in Egypt in which former president Mohamed Morsi took office. The new draft constitution was completed and a referendum was held in December 2012, they said.

The trends of the then ruling regime in Egypt enraged the people as it entrenched conflict, fighting and sectarian sedition. The people took to the streets once again demanding a regime change in June 2013, they said, referring to June 30, 2013 when millions of Egyptians from various governorates and age groups called for ousting Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood Group and holding early presidential elections. At that time, the Egyptian Armed Forces intervened to maintain security and stood by the people as they have always done. This was the beginning of the transitional rule period as Counselor Adly Mansour ran the country and the 2012 constitution was put on hold.

During 2014, a referendum was held on the amended constitution and was approved and in the same year the third pluralist presidential elections in the history of Egypt were held. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi was elected as president. In 2015, a new parliamentary elections were held with the participation of all the people's segments and therefore there was more representation by youth, women and people with special needs, the youths said.

The participants reviewed the percentages of participation in the presidential and parliamentary elections and the referendums on the constitution. They analyzed the presidential elections held from 2005 to 2018. In 2014, the percentage reached 47, while in 2018 the figure was 41% taking into consideration the increase in the number of eligible voters from 53 million in 2014 to 59 million in 2018.

Gihad Sief al Islam, member of the Congress Party, expounded the experiment of the Egyptian presidential elections, saying it reflected Egyptians' awareness of the importance of facing the challenges of the current stage.

He also lauded the convocation of the first World Youth Forum that was called for by Sisi, saying this pioneering experiment mirrored the State's keenness on interacting with youths.

He said President Sisi is keen on extending bridges of interaction with all youths, even those representing the opposition.

Also, the head of the Geel Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Ibrahim el Shehabi, unveiled several suggestions to enhance youths' participation in political life.

The suggestions included holding a national forum for public policies to be a platform for a permanent dialogue involving all political parties.

Member of Free Egyptians Party Belal Habash said the political parties have gone through a number of obstacles over the past seven years. In order to enhance the partisan life in Egypt there should be a clear mechanism for their participation in decision-making at various levels, from the municipalities to the cabinet, he said.

Such mechanism would make parties an attractive environment to the citizen, he said, adding that the political parties have a real crisis as regards some legislation particularly in the laws on political parties and the practice of political and municipal rights, he said.

"We are confident in President Sisi's call for the need to establish a true partisan life," he said, asserting that the party's youths are ready to cooperate with the president in this respect.

"We call for the amendment of some laws in order to be in line with all mechanisms of partisan action," he said, adding that the party's youths are actually ready to submit draft laws as soon as possible.

Amira el Adly, a journalist, said there are structural parties and on the ground they do not exist and therefore all partisan obstacles should be eliminated, referring to the files of freedoms and public opinion cases.

She called for holding a political dialogue that gathers politicians and rights activities on the concept of national security and freedoms.

She thanked the president on sanctioning the new list of youths granted pardon, calling for setting up programs for their rehabilitation to join the political life once again.

Researcher Hazem Omar underlined the importance of activating the political life in Egypt through adopting a legislative framework that boosts the role of political parties and encourages independents to join political parties.

He also called for turning coalitions into real partisan entities and promoting awareness of youths of the importance of political parties.

He also urged setting up a partisan school inside the National Authority of Youth to hone their skills in the partisan action and election campaigns.

If we established such a school, we will create a strong partisan generation that will pose a real boost to the government, he said.

Lawmaker Karim Salem said merging youths in the political process will take a long time, saying promoting political awareness of youths is not the sole responsibility of the State but families, universities and clubs have a role to play in this domain.

He lauded the Presidential Leadership Program and the National Academy of Youths, saying these two entities provide a good opportunity for grooming youths to assume leading posts.

The current youth generation has a real chance to take part in the national political life and build the Egyptian State, he added.

Mohamed Abdel Aziz, member of the National Council for Human Rights, thanked President Sisi for approving the fourth presidential pardon, noting that the total number of pardoned youths that have already been released stands at around 900.

He warned of fake figures released by terrorist organizations on the number of detainees in Egyptian jails over protest charges.

He noted that human rights respect is an integral part of the State strategy against terrorism.

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