El-Sherif dismisses constitutional amendments

Sawfat el-Sherif, secretary-general of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), said on Tuesday that no amendments would be made to the Egyptian Constitution, stressing that Article 76 of the national charter had paved the way for Egypt’s first-ever multi-candidate presidential elections.

"The NDP isn’t subject to pressure from anyone. And whoever wants to run in presidential elections should join a political party," he said, adding this was "not a difficult task" as some critics liked to claim.

At a meeting of the NDP’s influential Policies Secretariat, El-Sherif also stressed that the ruling party took upcoming elections for the Shura Council–the consultative chamber of parliament–very seriously and did not favor some candidates over others. "We will nominate those who are best qualified," he said.

On the new social insurance bill, el-Sherif said the draft legislation aimed to improve citizens’ living standards and achieve social justice. "We in the party do our best for all citizens," he said. "As the majority party, we cannot stay still and let the minority handle things."

As for recent objections by the State Council to the appointment of female judges, El-Sherif said that the NDP respected the judiciary and did not interfere in its affairs. "But our platform clearly supports women’s rights and the constitution doesn’t discriminate between men and women," he said. "It provides both with equal opportunity."

At the conclusion of the meeting, El-Sherif said that the Policies Secretariat–which is headed by President Hosni Mubarak’s son, Gamal–had finalized the party’s electoral program for upcoming Shura Council elections and would soon present it to the NDP’s executive board.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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