Morsi to hold national dialogue Tuesday to ensure transparent elections
President Mohamed Morsi has invited political groups from across the political spectrum to meet with him to discuss the upcoming elections
Ahram Online, Tuesday 26 Feb 2013
Egypt's presidency is planning to hold a national dialogue meeting on Tuesday with a number of political groups.
The session, which will take place at 5.30pm at the presidential headquarters in Heliopolis and will be broadcast live on television, will discuss how to ensure the transparency of the upcoming parliamentary elections, due to begin on April 22.
President Mohamed Morsi had called for the dialogue meeting in a televised interview late Sunday. According to a Monday statement from the presidential office, the dialogue session will look at propositions put forward by Egypt's political forces as well as tthe mechanisms of oversight from local and international NGOs to ensure free and fair voting.
A report on the outcome of meeting is expected to be submitted to Egypt's Supreme Elections Commission.
Opposition forces have been calling for a boycott of upcoming parliamentary elections on the grounds that they were sidelined in the drafting of the new elections law.
The presidency has invited twenty political parties and public figures to attend the talks, including the Constitution Party, the Egyptian Popular Current, the Freedom and Justice Party, the Wafd Party, the Free Egyptian Party, the Nour Party, the Wasat Party, the Kefaya Movement, the Socialist Popular Alliance, the Building and Development Party, the Asala Party and the April 6 Youth Movement.
The invitation was also extended to representatives of Al-Azhar- Egypt's influential seat of Islamic learning - Egypt's churches, prominent media figure Hamdy Qandil, former MP Mostafa El-Naggar, Egyptian activist Wael Ghoneim, law professor Tharwat Badawy, Salafist ex-presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, and poet Abdel Rahman Youssef.
This is the third time President Morsi has issued calls for dialogue since the end of January, following a wave of anti-government protests across the country.
In December, President Morsi launched a series of national dialogue meetings in a bid to tackle Egypt's deepening political crisis, but these were widely boycotted by the opposition.
The April 6 Youth Movement announced on Tuesday it would not partake in the dialogue, voicing dismay over the sidelining of political forces during the drafting of the new elections law and setting the date of the polls.
"The presidency and the Muslim Brotherhood strategy of presenting decisions to political forces as a fait accompli and then calling for artificial dialogues will just complicate an already tangled situation and add to the current political malaise in the country," said movement founder Ahmed Maher.
The official media spokesperson of Egypt's Catholic Church, Father Rafic Greiche, said on Tuesday that the Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical Egyptian churches would not take part in the meeting.
"The issues the dialogue will tackle are political and are out of the church's framework," he said.
Amongst political figures who rejected the calls for talks are poet Abdel Rahman Yousif and former MP Mostafa El-Naggar. Other opposition groups and public figures have yet to announce their stance.