NDP counters attacks
Safwat El-Sherif, Secretary general stood up to the disapproval and faced the criticism. El-Sherif highlighted that the NDP’s approach for the upcoming period would be concentrated highly on countering the charges and explicating the party’s procedures to the public.
El-Sherif described the slamming by the US State Department’s of the violent reaction of security forces against Activists who staged protests on 6 April as “unjustified and blatant interference in the internal affairs of Egypt.” He argued that “the US is not the world’s policeman tasked with disciplining political life across the world.” El-Sherif, believed that despite the criticism this will not negatively affect US-Egyptian relations.
The April 6 demonstrations caused much uproar after NDP MPs, Nashaat El-Qassas from Sinai and Ahmed Abu Aqrab from Assiut, were accused of encouraging security forces to stop dealing “leniently” with 6 April protestors. They prompted forces to “shoot them” with live bullets. El-Qassas and Abu Aqrab argued that they were ‘misquoted’ denying that they had asked security forces to shoot protesters and that there was a conscious effort to tarnish their Party’s reputation. They explained that they only referred to the demonstrations of 6 April protesters as illegal since no license was obtained in advance from the Ministry of Interior. El-Sherif defended that “the NDP strongly believes in democracy and reform,” and that “the party has adopted a new style of thinking since 2002”.
Regarding the topic of succession, El-Sherif sidelined it explaining that “The NDP will not open the file of presidential elections this year.” Their agenda will concentrate primarily on the impending elections of the Shura Council and the People’s Assembly. However he did mention that the majority of the NDP members hoped that President Mubarak will be the ruling party’s candidate in the presidential elections of 2011.
The emergence of former IAEA chief Dr. Mohamed El-Baradei, onto the political arena after his return to Egypt and his call for political reform, has made the issue of succession a nuisance for the NDP. El-Sherif abstained from joining the debate about whether Gamal Mubarak, the 47-year-old son of President Mubarak and chairman of the NDP’s influential Policies Committee, will stand in the presidential elections of 2011, adding he was busy with preparations for the upcoming elections. He denied press reports that the NDP has struck political deals” with any opposition parties, including Muslim Brotherhood, ahead of elections.