Egypt's National Dialogue to resume sessions next week

Gamal Essam El-Din , Wednesday 26 Jul 2023

Egypt's National Dialogue will return from an extended holiday to hold a new round of public sessions next week discussing political rights, public debt and cultural industries among other topics.

Egypt s National Dialogue
Part of one of the first specialized sessions of the Egypt s National Dialogue on Tuesday 25 July, 2023. Photo courtesy of Egypt s National Dialogue.


Since its inauguration on 3 May, the dialogue has held sessions bringing together political forces, civil society groups and professional and labour unions to reach a consensus on Egypt's priorities and set a unified national agenda, said a statement from the dialogue on Wednesday.

Starting Sunday, the National Dialogue's Political Committee will review and discuss the 1977 law on political rights.

Opposition political parties want to see the legislation, which was amended several times since the 2011 revolution, revisited to give greater rights to political activists.

"On the same day, another committee will meet to discuss challenges facing trade unions and civil society organizations," said the statement.

Sunday's meetings will also continue the discussion on laws surrounding local councils. Most participants seek an amendment allowing local council elections to be held as soon as possible.

The Supreme Administrative Court has invalidated 2011's local council elections and the law has since been put on hold. 

On Tuesday, the Economic Committee will hold two meetings.

"The first will be devoted to discussing the two principles of social justice and equality among citizens, while the second will look into the issues of public debt, budget deficit and fiscal reform," said the statement.

Several MPs and economic experts have raised concerns in recent months over what they call "the alarming rise in Egypt's public debts."

On Thursday, the Social Committee will focus on family topics and social cohesion.

"In this respect, the committee will discuss post-divorce issues," said the statement, adding that "the Cultural Committee will also hold two meetings focusing on cultural industries (cinema, drama, theatre and music)."

Some National Dialogue committees held closed-door meetings on Sunday and Tuesday to discuss recommendations raised during previous sessions regarding parliamentary representation and election laws.

To date, 50 dialogue sessions have been conducted, held three days per week (Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday), dedicated to political, economic, and social axes, respectively. 

Chief among the issues discusses so far are laws on the parliamentary electoral system, municipal elections, guardianship and cooperatives.

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