Mubarak to receive top parliamentary figures

Dina Ezzat, Sunday 5 Dec 2010

President Mubarak expected to address anti-terrorism law in meeting with the top figures of Egypt's incoming parliament

Ahead of his speech before parliament set for the middle of this month, President Hosni Mubarak is scheduled to meet with the incoming parliament's top figures as early next week to review the agenda of the newly elected People's Assembly, a presidential source said.

The president will meet with the speaker of parliament, his two deputies, and the head and the secretary-general of the majority party -- in this case, all members of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) that is chaired by President Mubarak himself.

The first round of parliamentary elections, held on 28 November (last Sunday), gave the NDP a strikingly overwhelming majority. That sweeping victory is expected to be endorsed by today's second round on the back of the decision of two major opposition powers, the Muslim Brotherhood and the liberal Al-Wafd party, to withdraw from elections.

No major changes in the composition of the parliament board are expected, according to NDP sources. Speaker of the outgoing parliament Fathi Sorour "seems set" to keep his position as parliament speaker, the same sources suggest, adding that the president would ask for "prompt" legislative action with regards to some pending legislations including the anti-terrorism law.

In his 2005 presidential campaign, Mubarak had promised to work to end the state of emergency that was instituted in 1981 following the assassination of former president Anwar El-Sadat and subsequent accession to power by Mubarak. The regulations of the state of emergency were theoretically restrained this year, although the emergency law was renewed.

The anti-terrorism law should be adopted by parliament for the emergency state to be suspended. According to government and humanitarian organization sources, it should be easier for the new parliament, which is all but an exclusive NDP club, to adopt the draft that allows the ministry of interior almost extra-judiciary powers.

In his speech before parliament, Mubarak is likely to address a more comprehensive agenda: equal citizenship, national unity, social services, employment and the empowerment of women.

"The President might make a remark to respond to criticism launched against the administration of elections in this speech but it would be a brief remark," said the same presidential source.



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