Egyptian engineer Mamdouh Hamza announces plans to create a national council

Ahram Online, Tuesday 3 May 2011

After the underwhelming response to the government organised dialogue, Hamza hopes to bring together a national council of 60 members and initiate a 'people's dialogue'

Mamdouh Hamza

A national council made up of 60 representatives of the Egyptian people will be elected to help fulfil the goals of the revolution, announced renowned Egyptian engineer Mamdouh Hamza.

Hamza, the mastermind of the National Council, announced today in a noon press conference at the Press Syndicate that attendees of the “First Conference of Egypt”, a daylong conference to be held on Saturday, will elect the 60 council members. The conference will be attended by 2500 representatives from all major political forces in Egypt and will discuss the future of the country: the yet unfulfilled goals of the revolution and how to help the country pass through the transitional period smoothly.

“The conference will work with the government and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to discuss four basic points,” Hamza stated. “These [points] include setting out principles for a new constitution, establishing a vision for the development of the country and the demands of social justice, unifying the national political forces for the next parliamentary elections and discussing the role of the National Council.”

The council will work to create a “revolutionary mandate” that will include their vision in the issues discussed.

Last month, the country’s interim government held a national dialogue headed by Deputy Prime Minister Yehia El-Gamal and which included 160 attendees from different political factions as well as several ministers. The first session, held on 30 March and televised live was heavily criticised for the chaotic manner in which the proceedings took place and the lack of involvement of representatives from trade unions, certain political groups and civil society.

Following the criticism, El-Gamal was replaced as chairman of the dialogue by former prime minister Abdel Aziz Hegazy, but the meetings have yet to resume. Now, many believe that Hamza’s National Council is being orchestrated to compete with the government’s national dialogue. However, when asked the difference during the conference today, Hamza insisted that the two are different.

“They are not related in anyway,” stressed Hamza. “Their dialogue was a government dialogue, ours is a people’s dialogue.”

But Hamza insisted that invitations have been sent to interim Prime Minister Essam Sharaf and all the ministers though whether they will attend or not is still unclear. He added that 23 invitations have also been sent to the ruling military council and seven of them have thus far been accepted.

The Muslim Brotherhood is the only group that has turned down the invitation. The group released a statement last week saying that they preferred to participate in the official dialogue.

Short link: