El Sadat: The Speaker of the Parliament Owes an Apology to Egypt's Political Parties

Mr. Anwar El Sadat, President of the Reform & Development Party, expressed great disappointment regarding the statement released by the Speaker of the Parliament, Dr. Ali Abdel Aal, during discussions surrounding youth organizations in a general assembly meeting on Tuesday. Mr. El Sadat said that during the discussion, "a new statement was released that was shocking in its findings, as are many of the reports and statements released as of late." The released statement maintained claims that the youth conferences led by Pr. Abdel-Fatah El Sisi was the only successful effort in youth engagement whereas all other efforts by the political parties failed. The statement said that the President's efforts yielded a larger cadre of youth than all of the efforts of Egypt's political parties combined. Very disheartening, this statement was received with great offense both on behalf of the active parties and the youth that they have worked with.

Directly addressing the Speaker of the Parliament, El Sadat pointed out that if The Speaker is unaware of certain realities, a number of things must be made clear. First of all, that the majority of the youth who do attend conferences and events organized by the Presidential office are youth already active in the political sphere both independently and as members of political parties. Secondly, that the Egyptian Constitution and its inherent political processes demand that Egypt's political parties be treated with respect, and that their efforts be both recognized and encouraged, not diminished and marginalized. This respect, El Sadat continued, must be extended under all circumstances. Mr. El Sadat also pointed out that if there is indeed a lack of participation by the political parties in the effort to civically engage and empower citizens yes it is true but it is not without considerable reason.

Thirdly, he continued, if we are to praise the efforts of the Presidential Office to engage, and build the capacity of, Egyptian youth, it should not be at the expense of the parties that have exerted an extensive amount of energy to do the same thing for years. It is both an insult to the parties, and to the youth themselves.

Fourth, El Sadat stated, if we are to hold that the Presidential Youth Conferences were successful where the parties failed; it is worth noting that other councils have succeeded where Parliament itself has failed. For instance, the National Council for Human Rights has played a significant role in protecting and promoting various human rights through its annual reports and detailed involvement, whereas Parliament has failed to exert any such effort. The National Women's Council has fought to secure many women's rights when Parliament continuously fell short. Numerous organizations and councils have fought to improve the living conditions of Egyptian citizens in areas that Parliament has demonstrated its inadequacy in.

Fifth, if it is the view of the Speaker of The Parliament that the parties are falling short, it is absolutely his responsibility to address those short comings as head of the Parliament that is made up of those very parties. Parliament should discuss ways to strengthen the parties and how to encourage civic engagement through the parties via reforms and/or new political party laws. Parliament should also form committees and sessions designed to understanding party needs. Parliament should also move to help the 104 political parties currently operating to coordinate and merge so that the number of parties participating in the process are both fewer and stronger. Unfortunately, Parliament has done nothing of the sort and is satisfied with merely disparaging party performance.

Mr. El Sadat's sixth and final point to the Speaker of the Parliament was that he personally wished that Parliament did not disregard and disrespect its members and their parties in this fashion. He then urged Members of Parliament to actively refuse to accept such statements as the one made on Tuesday, and reiterated that the Speaker of the Parliament should, in the least, apologize to Egypt's political parties for the offense caused by his statement and the complete disparaging of both the parties and the important roles that they play.


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