NDP member: Anti-party protests strengthens reform camp

Dina Ezzat , Wednesday 26 Jan 2011

The ruling party "is obliged" to revisit its parliamentary elections strategy, says member

"There are so many meetings that are coming up within the party; everyone is keenly interested to openly and clearly discuss what happened and to forge a strategy for 2011," said a member of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).

The NDP member, who also sits on the influential Policies Committee that is chaired by Gamal Mubarak, the younger son of President Hosni Mubarak, was sharing his views with Ahram Online regarding the many anti-NDP protests during yesterday's massive demonstrations.

"Yes, everybody from top down is well aware of the strong expression of the NDP sentiment," he said during a telephone interview.

Thousands of protestors gathered before the secretariat of the NDP at Abdel-Moneim Riyad Square and stoned its newly installed glass façade shouting: "The NDP wrecked Egypt."

"Obviously those are angry demonstrations of young men and women who suffer the brunt of unemployment, poverty and political frustration," said the NDP member. He, however, added that these demonstrations and protest will "strength the reformist camp within the NDP".

"The NDP is a wide national coalition of people of many political shades; and it is only an open secret that within the NDP there is a camp that is firmly calling for wider political reform," he said.

He added that while the call of this camp for wider political participation of opposition political parties and even of the Muslim Brotherhood in parliament through the (autumn) elections were "overlooked by those who have the upper hand," this call would now have to be heeded.

This said, the same NDP figure told Ahram Online, that there are still some within the top echelons of the ruling party who are trying to convince the party leadership that the demonstrations of Tuesday were sheer Muslim Brotherhood attempts at anarchy. "But their analysis is not being taken at face value," he said.

He added that "what we saw on the streets yesterday are not just Muslim Brotherhood members or symapthisers but Egyptians at large; those are the Egyptians that you would see supporting the football national team – and their show of frustration was genuine and it had to be accommodated," he said.

According to the same source, a package of political and economic measures "to release the anger" would be adopted shortly. "There are (NDP) meetings and there are government meetings and there are joint meetings between members of both sides."

Meanwhile, the NDP figure argued that it would be unrealistic to expect "any strong impulsive reaction on the side of the political leadership to the demonstrations of yesterday".

"People who are speculating about an immediate and full cabinet reshuffle or who are anticipating the president (the NDP leader) to dissolve the parliament are misguided," he stated.

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