CAIRO: The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) hosted a meeting Tuesday at its parliamentary headquarters where it invited over 35 opposition figureheads to formulate a plan of action for the upcoming period regarding political reform.
At the invitation of the group’s supreme guide, Mohamed Badie, opposition figures such as Hassan Nafaa from the National Association for Change and Democratic Front Party leader Osama Al-Ghazali Harb met with MB members to discuss plans for continued pressure on the regime for political change.
Part of the mooted plans included a total boycott of the regime and efforts to galvanize the Egyptian street, leading out crowds calling for political change. A joint statement at the end of the meeting read by Badie called for an end to the emergency law and guarantees for free and fair elections.
Head of the MB parliamentary bloc Hussein Ibrahim told Daily News Egypt, “The regime forged the Shoura Council elections and the elections for the People’s Assembly are coming up. We need to ask where Egypt is going.”
“We invited other political forces for a discussion on what common ground we share and to see what we can build with such a consensus. We all agree that Egypt needs political reform, such as free elections and an end to the emergency law,” Ibrahim added.
This is not the first overture the MB has made towards opposition forces with differing ideologies. Recently, the MB had announced that it would rally behind the campaign for change led by former IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei.
Ever since then, the MB has managed to amass 90,000 signatures for the campaign’s petition, which lists seven demands required for political reform, including bringing an end to the emergency law, judicial oversight and independent monitoring of elections and a two-term limit on the presidency.
Tuesday’s meeting was another step in that direction according to Ibrahim, who stressed however that plans needed to be implemented immediately after they reach agreement in discussions.
“Four committees were created to implement what we hope will be real change. It is hoped that we can all organize a nonviolent movement in the streets that will put pressure on the regime for political reform,” Ibrahim said.
Further demands made in the statement that followed Tuesday’s meeting included rejection of foreign intervention in Egyptian affairs and exposing corruption and fraudulent elections.
In other MB-related news, the Administrative Court and State Council fined the Ministry of Interior LE 5,000 for refusing to release an MB member whose release had been ordered by the court.
Abdalla Zein El-Abedein had been due for release in February 2002 after serving three quarters of his jail-term for belonging to a banned group. However, he remained behind bars when the ministry refused to release him. He had been initially sentenced in a military court.
The court deemed the ministry’s decision, which meant the defendant stayed another nine months behind bars, “illegal and unconstitutional”.