NDP's top executive committee resigns as national dialogue enters new phase

   Anti-government protesters look over the crowd gathered in Tahrir Square following Friday prayers on February 4th. [Reuters/Steve Crisp]

Anti-government protesters look over the crowd gathered in Tahrir Square following Friday prayers on February 4th. [Reuters/Steve Crisp]

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The political crisis in Egypt took a new turn after the National Democratic Party's (NDP) top executive committee resigned Saturday (February 5th), including Gamal Mubarak, the president's son, and secretary-general Safwat al-Sharif.

Hussam Badrawi, a prominent reformer in the party, will replace al-Sharif as secretary-general.

The NDP denied media reports that Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was also resigning as leader of the party.

Meanwhile, a number of opposition political parties began dialogue with Vice President Omar Suleiman as protestors vowed to continue their protests until Mubarak leaves office. A number of protests are also planned for next week, dubbed "Steadfastness Week".

Peaceful protests on "Departure Friday"

Contrary to some media expectations, “Departure Friday" was free of clashes between supporters of Mubarak and the hundreds of thousands of opposition protestors who converged on Tahrir Square in Cairo. The army deployed extensive security reinforcements to the square and the nearby streets in the city centre.

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered in the Tahrir Square on Friday to protest President Mubarak's stay in power until September, which marks the end of his current term. They also demanded the formation of a constituent assembly to write a new constitution for the country.

The demonstration was pre-dominantly festive in nature. Many prominent public figures came to Tahrir Square and joined the youth in protesting against February 2nd attacks which resulted in the death of eight protestors and the injury of about 5000 people, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Health.

The youth movements called for continued protests beginning Sunday despite calls by the army to return home.

Confidence crisis

Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik told a press conference Saturday that he hopes to draw opposition parties and youth groups to dialogue over constitutional reforms.

But not all youth groups are willing to enter into dialogue before Mubarak quits. On Saturday, protestors reacted to an army general asking them to end their protests by chanting "We will not leave, he should leave".

There is a "crisis of confidence" between the demonstrating youth in Tahrir square and the Mubarak regime that is difficult to overcome at present, the First Deputy Chairman of the Arab Democratic Nasserite Party, Sameh Ashour, told Al-Shorfa.

Ashour, who represents his party in the dialogue with Suleiman, said, "Their determination to see President Mubarak leave office, and their resilience in their position stem from their lack of trust that the Egyptian regime would get them their demands to prepare a new constitution and end the domination era, through which Egypt has passed."

He said the dialogue should address guarantees that Mubarak’s regime will not skirt the pressing demands for change should the youth and the opposition end their sit-down and demonstrations. But he expressed his confidence in Suleiman.

Vice president continues dialogue

The vice president started a round of talks with several opposition parties on Friday, telling the press they might go on for 10 days. He met with the leaders of the smaller opposition groups, as well as leaders of parties that are being established.

Mohamed Esmat al-Sadat attended the first round of talks, in his capacity as the Chairman of the Reform and Development Party, which is being established. He described the session as "listening with no commenting". There was no dialogue or discussion, he told Al-Shorfa.

Sadat said that a young man and a young woman from among the demonstrators accompanied him to the meeting. They asked Suleiman to go down to the streets in Tahrir Square and to listen to them and understand their demands.

On Saturday, Suleiman met with the main opposition parties, namely the Wafd Party, Tagammu, and the Nasserite Party. The meeting was also attended by independent prominent public figures such as constitutional expert, Dr. Yahya al-Gamal, and some of the youth who are taking part in the sit-down in Tahrir Square, who represent what they called the 25 January Movement.

Speaking to Al-Shorfa during the Friday protest, Secretary General of the Wafd Party, Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said that his party entered the dialogue with "specific demands and a schedule for the constitutional amendments, which meet the demands of most of the Egyptian people".

Abdel Nour said the list of demands to be presented by Wafd includes constitutional amendments to articles 88 and 93 of the constitution, and adding an amendment that grants the President of the Republic the right to call for the election of a constituent assembly that will assume the responsibility of writing a new constitution for the country.

ElBaradei, April 6 boycott dialogue

The meeting with Suleiman did not include representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood or the National Association for Change, led by Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei, the former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who refuses to have hold a dialogue with the regime unless "President Mubarak leaves office, and a peaceful transition of power, and preparation of a new constitution begin."

Representatives of the April 6 youth movement were also absent. The movement announced that they insist on Mubarak leaving and on a peaceful transition of power before they begin the dialogue.

A number of independent prominent figures formed a "Wise Men committee", which declared that it will offer a number of recommendations to Suleiman to overcome the political crisis as well as amendments to the constitution and the law.

The founding statement of this committee stated that the vice president should lead the transitional phase, and that the youth should play a clear part in the national dialogue, in addition to providing sufficient assurances for a peaceful transition.

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    ايهاب

    2011-2-10

    The uprising of the Egyptians is a legitimate right, because they have suffered much from injustice, tyranny, poverty, hunger and corruption. In fact, they took a firm stance in order to put an end to this situation and ask for their rights by joining massive demonstrations that aim to remove Mubarak, since he is an unjust ruler. Indeed, a lot of people were harmed by his oppression. He was not fair, because there are many cases of extreme poverty in Egypt. People can no longer bear this situation and do not want Hosni Mubarak any more. In fact, he must give up as soon as possible, in order to pave the way for other people. In so doing, Egyptians will be able to regain their rights and the situation will improve.

  • ايوة اليوم

    2011-2-10

    The uprising of the Egyptian people is an explicit demand to get back a right which was taken from them by the unjust government, which held on to power by falsifying the elections. Thus, Egyptians have opted for demonstrations, which fanned the situation and fueled Egyptian public opinion because of the demands. In fact, the latter include the removal of President Hosni Mubarak from power to pave the way for someone else, so that the Egyptian people can take back their rights from injustice. Mubarak was an unjust and unfair president who held on to power without paving the way for anyone, and who repressed many demonstrations. Thus, President Hosni Mubarak must give up power quickly, for the benefit of Egypt and the Egyptians. He must also take control of the situation from the beginning, before it gets worse and damages the government and the people.

  • خالد معلل

    2011-2-10

    I would like to ask the ruling party in Egypt to step down from power. In fact, the current government must be replaced by another one, in order to serve the Egyptian people and improve the situation without any riots or sabotage to such domains as the economy, which might affect the State of Egypt. Thus, it is essential that the ruling party give a chance to whoever is able to serve the country and improve the situation without any harm to the government and the citizens. This government, just like some former presidents, must preserve its dignity and leave in order to avoid humiliation and harm. They have to respond to the demands of the citizens and not hurt them, because governments must be selected by the people in order to serve them. However, this government has hurt the Egyptian people in many ways, and did not respond to their demands. Thus, they must relinquish power right away without any conditions, so as to respond to the people who suffered oppression and harm so much that they resorted to massive protests in the streets through continuous demonstrations.

  • ابن مصر

    2011-2-10

    President Hosni Mubarak does not want to step down from power. However, he must consider the interests of the country and the citizens first. Otherwise, he will be forced to leave in a way that is unworthy of a President. He must pave the way for someone else and save those who have suffered extreme poverty and cannot bear more oppression and hunger. The Egyptian regime has intimidated people by terrorizing whoever asked for his legitimate rights. In fact, the security forces used to repress the demonstrations which claimed their rights. However, this time, no one will keep silent towards oppression. Mubarak must quit power and pave the way for whoever will serve the Egyptian people.

  • اياد محمد

    2011-2-10

    The only solution to get out of the current Egyptian crisis is for Hosni to step down from the presidency as soon as possible. I wish all success to the free Egyptian youth who led this revolution, and I hope the revolution would not be hijacked by the pragmatic, benefit-seeking, so-called opposition parties, which will certainly try to claim this popular victory as their own one way or the other.

  • حكمت عادل

    2011-2-10

    God may spare the unjust for a while, but He never forgets them. The day of retribution has come for Hosni Mubarak and other presidents who have transgressed in the land and thought they were immortal and that their ability is larger than that of the exalted almighty God. God, break the will of the unjust, and grant victory to the Egyptian people and help them through the big crisis they are going through as they struggle for independence and freedom to get their rights, which have been usurped by their fascist Nazi regime, which has practiced the worst kinds of repression against the people. I pray to God for you, oh loyal people of Egypt, to help you unify and rightfully direct your steps, to achieve the noble goals you are aspiring for. Victory will be yours, God willing.

  • ياسر احمد

    2011-2-10

    We, the people of the Arab region, add our voices to yours, O heroes of Egypt. You have been a good role model for the Arab youth regarding sophistication and civilization through your blessed white revolution, during which you have displayed the extent of your rejection of Hosni and the Egyptian government, using the most wonderful peaceful means which we do not see much in all the countries of the world.

  • نسيم سلمي

    2011-2-8

    I believe that what happened in Egypt is the result of many years’ efforts and struggle by the opposition parties, like the Muslim Brotherhood movement, Kifaya or others. They have mobilized the masses for this big day in the history of contemporary Egypt; and it only needed a spark to ignite a revolution throughout the geographical area of the Arab Republic of Egypt. Indeed, the revolution unexpectedly spread to several cities, and the Egyptians have actually shown great courage in challenging the authority and the system. They were not discouraged by all the attempts to repress them, and they clung to their demands; this astonished the whole world and astounded Hosni Mubarak himself. He did not expect such a surprise mass movement that destabilized the situation and confidently began to draw toward the end of his era of oppression and tyranny.

  • رحيم صادق

    2011-2-8

    As far as I am concerned, Mubarak has lost his maneuverability and shown a great deal of stupidity since he dissolved the government. In fact, people clearly want to overthrow the entire regime under the leadership of Mubarak. They are not asking him to dissolve the government, but what should we say about power-greedy people?! They hold on to power till their last breath. They look like animals or even worse, since they have devoted their honor, consciences and themselves wholly in order to hold on to power. They became accustomed to plundering people’s wealth and abusing power. Thus, they cannot leave these temptations easily.

  • لبو الحارث

    2011-2-8

    I really wonder what Hosni Mubarak is thinking about, while he is witnessing the people of Egypt with all its provinces revolting against him. In fact, they are rising up, threatening him and saying, “Enough of the oppression and Hosni Mubarak.” Despite that, he is still in power and is trying to make reforms. I definitely think that he is nasty and must be put in a private hospital, because he has reached a state of senility.

  • يوسف رشدان

    2011-2-8

    Congratulations to the sons of the Egyptian people for expressing their anger so heroically in the last few days. We wish you all the success and a brilliant victory over the dictator president who exercised his powers in the ugliest way, in order to suppress your rumbling voice calling for a change. Despite all the security forces surrounding him, he could not oppress the people of Egypt, because they have had their say and they will never give in.

  • صالح هادي

    2011-2-8

    The clear slogan “People want to overthrow the regime” which the demonstrators raised, is enough for Hosni Mubarak and his entourage to know that they are no longer respected by the people. They must also know that they have to leave and give up their positions, which they have clung to for almost three decades. In fact, they have never brought any worthy thing to Egypt and its people.

  • غلام قدير

    2011-2-8

    I have always believed in the saying, “He who sows the wind shall reap the storm,” which is confirmed by the current events in Egypt. In fact, Hosni Mubarak underestimated his people; he did not respond to the opposition and ordinary people, as if he were the eternal God of Egypt. He and his party disdained his people and perpetrated all kinds of deviation and administrative and financial corruption. Consequently, he sowed much hostility in Egyptian hearts against him and his party. Today, Mubarak is reaping the consequences of his own deeds. In fact, the current events are not a temporary emergency; they are the result of decades of mounting repressions. It is high time for Egyptians to revolt and to say, “Go, Hosni, we no longer want you.” It is up to Mubarak and his regime, which will disappear soon, to choose how to leave. However, he would do better to make the decision to resign and pave the way for whoever is able to lead the country towards righteousness, safety, well-being and development. In fact, you have deprived your country of these things because of your stupidity, tyranny and dictatorship, which prevented you from seeing the needs of your people.

  • مراد حسين

    2011-2-8

    O Egyptians, the pride of the Arabs! Do not give up and retire! You must move forward and insist on toppling that filthy regime, which led the country into a declining economy, corruption and bribery. You must demonstrate in bigger masses and for enough time in order to achieve your legitimate demands. I would like you to benefit from the Tunisian experience during and after their revolt, in order to avoid their mistakes. You must protect your country against saboteurs. Do not kill one another, because you are compatriots. Keep to the true objective of the revolt, which is the toppling of Mubarak’s fascist regime. You must put more pressure on him through demonstrations and undermining all life aspects through general strikes, in order to obstruct the movements of Hosni Mubarak and his remaining subordinates. You should remove this ugly president and preserve human rights, but do not transgress or take revenge on the policemen, because they are helpless, obedient people. Instead, you have to take revenge on the killer commanders who have massacred Egyptian people, stolen and robbed their riches, and spread corruption and immorality for thirty years. In fact, you need to target these people in order to get rid of them as soon as possible, and to preserve the gains that Almighty God granted you. I urge you to show sympathy towards one another and to protect your possessions against vandalism, because Egypt needs you today more than ever. You must not let that tyrant and his men flee the country, like Tunisian president Ben Ali, because revenge comforts the honorable Egyptians, who have suffered humiliation and shame during the rule of Mubarak.

  • سعيج ابو علي

    2011-2-8

    We are so happy about this and we hope that the revolution will go further to reach all Arab countries, from East to West, so that we will get rid of the ages of backwardness, oppression and the tyranny of our rulers, who have been clinging to the rule for decades.

  • شريف رحيمي

    2011-2-8

    Long live the free Egypt, the shining Arab pride, and let it restore its great glory, which has been destroyed by Hosni Mubarak and his rotten gang during their long years of rule.

  • خالد عبدالمعطي

    2011-2-8

    We are witnessing the awakening of consciences and minds which have been under the narcotics of Arab governments, which sought to monopolize power. In fact, we are witnessing the overthrow of the second Arab dictator. Hosni Mubarak will have the same bitter destiny that his friend Ben Ali, the ousted Tunisian president, had a few days ago. Thank God we have lived long enough to see the end of the tunnel and the end of tyrants who have brutalized their people. Where are the dirty Hosni Mubarak’s security forces and police generals who restricted freedoms and treated people like aliens who deserve continuous humiliation? They just vanished when people raised their voices against your oppression. This is the true image of the Egyptian people, who have a glorious history of heroism and revolutions against oppression and injustice. All Arabs are proud of the bravery of our Egyptian brothers, who faced the biggest demon, Hosni Mubarak during the “Days of Rage.” We also hope that they will attain security and achieve their demands. We pray for the martyrs who were killed by the brutal security forces’ bullets. May the vast Paradise be their ultimate abode.

  • عبدالعزيز محمد

    2011-2-8

    Almighty God neglects nothing. You thought that you were so strong that you dreamt of leaving power to your son Jamal. All Egyptians took a firm step, which echoed around the world, to halt your insane dreams and ambition. However, you and your opportunist, killer and criminal entourage, your party members who supported you, are now close to the end. There is no possibility of turning back or remedying the situation. Therefore, I ask you to escape, just like the ousted Tunisian President, before the Egyptian people get you. Do not slip into unrighteousness; leave Egypt for the true Egyptians, who have suffered enough from your long rule. In fact, you offered nothing to Egypt but calamity and destruction. If ever you reconsider your rule, you will realize why people made that great revolution to overthrow your regime and send you to Hell. Under your rule, Egypt suffered severe poverty, ignorance and need. People could not earn their bread because of the destroyed economy. In fact, Egypt receives aid from such countries as the USA, i.e., your nation is begging from others. Are these the great achievements that you claim brought about development? Do you call such deterioration development and progress? You are a president who cannot exercise his powers anymore. Just leave! This is the only thing that Egyptians are asking you to do. Do not let the situation became a total catastrophe. I wonder if you still have any sense of patriotism or responsibility to do that.

  • قاسم العراقي

    2011-2-8

    I have an appeal to all our brothers in Egypt. I am a brother of yours from Iraq and I want to congratulate the Egyptians for this popular uprising, which emerged from the “womb of society.” I also hope that God will help you fulfill your objective and defeat the oppressor Hosni Mubarak. In addition, I want to draw your attention to the weird and frightening acts which were broadcast through the media, namely the great acts of sabotage, which affected public as well as private places, the attacks on museums and government departments, and the acts of burning and looting. In fact, all these things happened in Iraq after the collapse of Saddam’s regime, and we are still suffering from their social drawbacks till now. Thus, I advise you to avoid such things. Honest sons of Egypt must rather protect their country, including government departments, public properties, museums and hospitals, because they belong to Egyptians, not to Hosni Mubarak’s family. Thus, they should neither set fire to them, nor rob or loot them. I want to call on you, sons of Arabic Egypt, to rush in order to prevent thieves from committing such filthy acts, since they will tarnish the image of your blessed Revolution. Thus, the entire world would describe Egyptians as demagogues and barbarians, because of a tiny minority of thieves, bandits and those corrupt people who exploit this critical situation.

  • صابر

    2011-2-6

    I can say that the situation in Egypt has already come to a close, and it will only be a matter of days, and Egypt will witness a new era without Mubarak and his family and his party, and then we will be able to rebuild the country, without the tyrants and the thieves. The situation is similar to what Iraq and the Tunisia went through in the past. Let's see change in our country.

  • جمال العطاف

    2011-2-6

    This angry protest has come on the heels of the revolution in Tunisia, which has spread to many Arab countries, because we can see these demonstrations taking place in many Arab countries; in Jordan, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon and others. This is due to the fact that the people are demanding a better life and an end to unemployment and poor economic conditions, and also an end to the incompetent rulers that are clinging to power in the Arab countries. These demonstrations are a true expression of the people’s anger in the Arab countries. There needs to be a change in the Arab world, in order to improve the living conditions of the citizens, because poverty is extremely widespread, and there are disparities between the various classes of people in the Arab countries.

  • خالد عبدالمنعم

    2011-2-6

    The Arab world has witnessed many upheavals since the ousting of the president of Tunisia and the Tunisian demonstrations that led to positive results and toppled President Ben Ali. This was called the Jasmine Revolution. The unrest spread to include many Arab countries, whose people were asleep and suddenly woke up. Egypt is one of the countries that have witnessed peaceful demonstrations that call for responding to the demands of the people. In short, these simple sit-ins turned into a nationwide revolution in Egypt. This has resulted in clashes and violence, but despite the Egyptian president's orders to the security forces and army to take to the streets to control the situation, they failed. Hosni Mubarak made promises during his speech to the Egyptian people, during which he dissolved the current government and formed another one. He also made many promises, including the promise to support the poor and low-income people and to work seriously to improve the economic situation, to raise the living standards, and to eliminate unemployment. However, all these promises and these speeches did not succeed in stopping the revolution of the Egyptian people, who did not care about any of those false promises. That is because they have lost confidence in Hosni Mubarak, after thirty years of poverty, hunger and crises that suffocated the ordinary poor citizen. The first demand of the demonstrators is the departure of Hosni Mubarak, before anything else. However, I do not think that Hosni Mubarak will leave so easily, and he will not make the mistake of President Ben Ali in Tunisia, who boarded his plane and fled to Saudi Arabia as an asylum seeker. Hosni Mubarak holds on to power in a frightening way, and the only thing that may make him leave is death.

  • عصام النحات

    2011-2-6

    What is taking place in Egypt is a continuation of what happened in Tunisia, with a mass movement and real demonstrations by the Tunisian people protesting against President Zain El-Abedine Bin Ali. The victory of the Tunisian people was like a rebirth for all the Arab nations, which gave them the encouragement after a long period of silence and profound sleep. Demonstrations broke out in most of the Arab countries as part of a national and popular revolt, and a refusal to stay silent, as the people voiced their true opinion and their views about the rulers that have remained in power for so many years, only concerned about building palaces for themselves and stashing money in Western bank accounts, all the while ignoring the situation in their own countries and the hardships and poor economic conditions that have plagued them. In addition to that, there is no freedom or democracy, and the people in the Arab countries have been living in tyranny and despotism, which consequently led to these demonstrations. The nations today want change, and they will not accept any option other than the removal of these people who have exploited these Arab countries, and seized control of every aspect of life in these countries, and they have done away with the freedom of the people and democracy, and made themselves rulers for life. This is why I believe that these demonstrations and the Arab revival taking place in Egypt and the rest of the Arab world constitutes a serious blow to Hosni Mubarak and his dreams of making his son his successor, so that he could pursue what he has already started, which is the destruction of the country. This is also a serious blow to leaders in other countries as well.