National Dialogue Conference fails due to NDP attendance

The first session of the National Dialogue Conference descended into chaos on Sunday after members of several youth groups took to the stage to protest against the attendance of former members of the disbanded National Democratic Party (NDP).

The April 6 Movement, the 25 January Revolution Youth Coalition and other youth movements withdrew from the session in protest.

Islamic preacher Safwat Hegazi, who led a session entitled “25 January Youth”, asked the former NDP members to withdraw from the conference until the session had ended. He suspended the session for five minutes as some attendees started shouting chants.

However, the problem was not resolved before the session wrapped up at 12:30 pm, and attendees were unable to conduct debates on various topics slated for the session, including issues relating to the exercise of political rights.

Ahmed Maher, the April 6 Movement coordinator, said its members withdrew due to the presence of the former NDP members. Maher added that the conference was badly organized, particularly with regard to the poor representation from youth groups. He said the group would withdraw entirely from the conference unless it improves.

Hegazi and Amr Hamzawi, who was also responsible for running the first session of the conference, held a 30-minute closed meeting to reach a solution regarding the participation of NDP members in future sessions, including former Minister of State for Administrative Development Ahmed Darwish.

Hegazi said he would hold a press conference to announce the steps taken by the Muslim Brotherhood and the 25 January Revolution Youth Coalition to exclude former NDP members from the conference.

The first session of the National Dialogue Conference is not to be confused with the week-long National Accord Conference, which started on Saturday, and which aims to facilitate the writing of a new constitution for Egypt.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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