National Democratic Party (NDP) Assistant Secretary General and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Moufid Shehab underlined today that the seventh annual conference of the ruling NDP is not tasked with naming the party's candidate for the 2011 presidential elections.
According to Shehab, who was speaking with reporters covering the annual conference, the naming of the NDP's presidential candidate is the task of a special conference to be held three months ahead of the presidential elections. In Shehab's words, “certain NDP rules and regulations have to be followed first before a decision is taken about the party's presidential candidate.”
One of these rules, Shehab said, is that a list containing the names of party leaders wishing to run as the NDP's presidential candidate should be prepared first and that the nomination winner would be decided by vote.
According to Article 76 of the constitution, the presidential nominee of any given party must have held high office for at least one continuous year. Two years ago, the NDP set up a 46-member higher council from which its presidential candidate should be selected.
The council includes members of NDP's politburo (12) and secretariat general (34). Most of the NDP's senior officials, especially the so-called old guard, have said that President Hosni Mubarak will be the NDP's nominee for the presidential elections in 2011.
Meanwhile, the first day of the NDP's conference focused on economic issues. The NDP's Housing Committee held a session in which Minister of Housing Ahmed El-Maghrabi reviewed the achievements of his ministry in implementing safe drinking water and sanitation projects. The session was headed by Ahmed Ezz, the NDP's secretary for organisational affairs.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Abul-Gheit meanwhile delivered a detailed review of Egypt's foreign policies and the challenges ahead in the region. Abul-Gheit, speaking before NDP's Foreign Relations Committee headed by Mohamed Abdellah, set political stability in Sudan as the biggest challenge facing Egypt in the present stage. Abul-Gheit argued that South Sudan's secession would not negatively affect the flow of Nile water to Egypt.
In Abul-Gheit's words, “Egypt is investing heavily in the south of Sudan and leaders there are keen not to disrupt their relations with their mother Egypt.”
Abul-Gheit reviewed other challenges facing Egypt such as political instability in Iraq and Lebanon and stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The NDP's senior leaders, such as Gamal Mubarak, chairman of the influential Policies Committee, Zakaria Azmi, NDP assistant secretary general for administrative and financial affairs, and NDP Secretary General Safwat El-Sherif were all present in the conference, though none participated in the discussion. All will be stay for President Hosni Mubarak's speech in the evening.
Gamal Mubarak, the 46-year-old son of President Mubarak, will dominate the conference's second day tomorrow. In a general session, Gamal Mubarak will review the performance of the NDP in 2010 and explore ways of implementing its parliamentary elections programme, costing LE2 billion, in the next five years.
Gamal Mubarak will also chair a committee session on investment, growth and employment. Minister of Finance Youssef Boutros Ghali and Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Rashid Mohamed Rashid will participate in the session, giving detailed statements and answering questions.
For his part, Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif will deliver a speech reviewing the government's progress in implementing President Mubarak's 2005 presidential elections programme.