Al-Ahram political strategists recommend Egypt’s political dialogue invite 100 participants only

Gamal Essam El-Din , Saturday 11 Jun 2022

Abdel-Moneim Said, a former board chairperson of Al-Ahram Press Organisation; and Emad Gad, a consultant with Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies agreed in a symposium on Friday that “for the national dialogue to be successful, the number of participants should not exceed 100.”

Abdel-Moneim Said,
Combined images of (L-R) Abdel-Moneim Said, a former board chairperson of Al-Ahram Press Organisation and Emad Gad, a consultant with Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies.

 

“More than 100 participants means that the dialogue could devolve into a talking shop that goes nowhere,” Said explained, adding that the dialogue should not exceed three months.

“The dialogue should also focus on revising Egypt’s 2014 and 2030 Vision,” he said, noting that that the dialogue should be “straightforward, concise, right to the point, and not a waste of time.”

Said and Gad’s statement came during a symposium held by the leftist Tagammu Party on Friday under the title ‘About Egypt’s National Dialogue, Political Multilateralism, and What Reform We Want.’

Said added that the agenda of the dialogue should focus on opening debate in three specific areas related to Egypt’s political, security, and economic conditions.

“Limiting the debate to these three areas will help participants reach a specific host of clear-cut recommendations to be presented to the president of the republic,” he said.

Said also recommended that the dialogue should not devolve to a mud-slinging match between opposition and loyalist forces or between Nasser supporters on the one hand and supporters of other presidents on the other.

“Participants should realise from the very beginning that this is a dialogue among civilian and secular forces that participated in the anti-Muslim Brotherhood’s 30 June Revolution, and that they all reject political Islam movements that seek to turn Egypt into an Iranian-style religious state.”

In political terms, Said explained that “the importance of focusing the debate on revising Egypt’s 2014 constitution and its amendments in 2019 as well as Egypt’s 2030 Vision is largely due to the fact that eight years have so far passed since the constitution was passed in 2014, meanwhile, there is another eight years remaining until the 2030 Vision is expected to be realised.”

“We want to know in what political direction the 2014 constitution has led Egypt over the past eight years — political and party-based multilateralism? Or stagnant political life?” he said, recommending that “the debate in this area be focused on how to change Egypt’s political system and exercise of political rights in light of developments over the last eight years.”

“For example, article 248 of the 2019’s amended constitution stipulates that it is the Senate which should be mandated with achieving all that is possible in the area of democratising Egypt and modernising its political system; we should discuss how to implement this on the ground,” Said noted.

Said — an appointed Senator and the current board chairperson of the independent Al-Masry Al-Youm Press Organisation — also argued that “for the dialogue to be fruitful, participants should focus on debating the future of Egypt’s political system and democratisation process,” adding that all participants should avoid recalling past experiences, as this could lead to internal divisions and wasting time.

For his part, Gad said he also agrees that participants in the proposed national dialogue shouldn’t exceed 100 in number.

“In this context, I recommend that all of Egypt’s political parties form a joint committee that will represent them in the dialogue in political, security, and economic areas,” said Gad, adding that “in this committee, political parties will name five figures as political activists, five as security experts, and five as economic academics.”

“Each figure should have both successful field experience and scientific academic knowledge to join the proposed committee,” Gad said.

He also proposed that President El-Sisi hold a three-hour closed meeting with each of the above three groups, and that this meeting should be recorded and aired at a later date.

“The recommendations passed by these meetings shall turn into a national action plan to be implemented on the ground within a certain period of time,” said Gad, also agreeing that “invitation to the dialogue should be exclusively directed to civilian forces that joined hands to against political Islam movements.”

During an Egyptian Family Iftar Banquet that was held on 26 April, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi called for a national dialogue that can set the political, security, and economic priorities in the coming period.

The National Academy for Training — which was tasked with organising the dialogue — announced on 9 June that the proposed dialogue would kick off in the first week of July.

It also announced that Chairperson of the Press Syndicate and the State Information Service  Diaa Rashwan shall act as the dialogue’s coordinator, and that Mahmoud Fawzi — the secretary-general of the Higher Council for Media Regulation — would be the dialogue’s secretary-general.

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