INTERVIEW: National Dialogue important step toward enacting political reform: Wafd deputy head

Ahram Online , Thursday 8 Jun 2023

Deputy Head of the Wafd Party Khaled Qandil said the National Dialogue is an important step toward enacting political reforms and strengthening the democratization process in Egypt.

National Diaogue
Khaled Qandil, Deputy Head of the Wafd Party


In an interview with Ahram, Qandil said he believes that the National Dialogue needs to recommend effective measures that would remove obstacles to broader political participation and activate the role of political parties.

"There is an urgency to implement the outcomes of the dialogue in order to strengthen trust in the political atmosphere, he added.

“The state should support the political parties financially in accordance to the size of their representation in the parliament," added the deputy head of the country’s oldest liberal party, who is also a member of the country's Senate.

Election reform

Qandil told Ahram that the government should hold municipal elections, as mandated by the constitution, in order to allow for more democratic participation on the local levels.

Egypt needs election of governors and heads of cities to broaden democratic participation, he argued.

Judicial oversight over polls should be complimented by neutrality from the government, security agencies and the media in the elections process, he proposed.

Moreover, Qandil argued, the proportional electoral system is the best way to ensure the fair and equitable representation of political parties in parliament.

“This means that the number of votes received by a certain party – on a national or local level - should translate into a proportionate number of seats in elected bodies.”

“The current simple majority 50+1 winner takes all system prevents a broad and diverse representation of actual political forces in parliament.”

“This would also lessen the impact of ‘political money’ on elections,” he added.

“The National Dialogue should recommend a fair representation of all political currents in elected bodies, he said.

NGOs: Bigger role

The Wafd deputy head said NGOs have been playing a positive role in the development in the country for a very long time and should be encouraged to continue to do so.

“The government is right to prohibit NGOs from receiving foreign funding or involvement in politics,” he stressed.

However, he added, the government should also ease rules for the establishment of NGOs and facilitate their work.

Economic reform: Proposals

The deputy head of Wafd stressed that measures to eliminate licensing and funding obstacles are needed to promote and encourage investments.

More industrial zones should be established and agricultural production needs to be expanded, he stressed.

“Investing in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors would increase local production and lower inflation,” he argued.

The government also needs to ease rules for importing raw materials and encourage use of local resources in production as part of combating rising prices caused by importing finished goods, Qandil proposed.

“The government should also offer tax exemptions to small and medium size enterprises, especially those which play a positive social or environmental role in the economy.”

The state has an important role to play in helping struggling industries overcome difficulties as well as fighting monopoly practices to stop any price fixing in the market, he added.

Qandil called in the interview for the formation of an emergency committee which would intervene to help industries that face eminent threats, such as the poultry industry.

“Broader land reclamation projects, upgrading irrigation networks , improving storage capabilities  and transportation networks and developing environmentally-sensitive seeds are among the ways to develop the agricultural sector an associated industries,’ he argued.

Education reform: Options

The country needs a stronger education system to meet market and overall development needs, Qandil told Ahram.

“There are options for reform to choose from,” he said.

“It can be done either by raise the budget for education to meet the minimum levels of spending on the sector that are stipulated in the constitution or increase fees for basic education and encourage a broader role for NGOs in the sector,” he concluded.

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