Ahead of the March parliamentary elections, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi invited political party heads to two meetings on Monday and Tuesday, a presidential statement said Monday.
The meeting represents the first time Al-Sisi officially sits with party leaders.
The presidency is yet to announce the details of the first meeting and the attendees. Some political parties, however, made public announcements, while media reports also revealed the remaining invited parties.
Regarding the first meeting Tuesday, Al-Sayed Al-Badawi Al-Wafd Party president said in press statements that he received an official invitation, as did Mohamed Anwar Sadat, president of the Reform and Development Party. Farid Zahran, vice-president of the Social Democratic Party (ESDP) confirmed to Daily News Egypt Monday that party chairman Mohamed Abou El-Ghar was also among the attendees.
The National Egyptian Movement Party, headed by former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, also announced that the party’s vice-president Yehia Qadry will attend the meeting with Al-Sisi.
“The meeting reflects a strong desire for stability and development of the country,” senior party member Yasser Qoura said in a statement published by the party’s official Facebook page Sunday.
Other major parties reportedly attending Monday’s meeting include: Salafi-linked Al-Nour Party’s president Younis Makhioun; The Free Egyptians Party’s Secretary-General Essam Khalil; Al-Taggamu Party’s chairman Sayed Abdul Al; Al-Ghad Party’s president Moussa Mostafa Moussa; and the Conference Party’s president Omar Al-Mokhtar.
Nagy El-Shehaby, president of Al-Geel Democratic, part of the Egyptian Front Coalition, said he was invited to meeting Sisi Tuesday.
“I expect the president will communicate to us his vision on the challenges the country faces internally and externally,” El-Shehaby told Daily News Egypt Monday. He said that it was the presidency which addressed politicians and therefore will set the meeting agenda.
Meanwhile, senior ESDP member Bassem Kamel argued that the call for the meeting comes late but that it was a positive step to ensure coordination between the different government bodies, mainly the president’s executive authority and the parliament’s legislative authority.
“The parliament will choose new ministers and it is expected that some of those will be experts and members of important state councils such as the governmental National Security Council, who will work together with the presidency,” Kamel told Daily News Egypt Monday.
In the meantime, three political groups, all under the Democratic Coalition, are not part of the presidential meeting. Al-Dostour said its president, Halla Shukrallah, was out of town and could not send a replacement because the invitation was addressed solely to her.
Al-Karamah Party’s president Mohamed Sami has not been invited, nor members of the Popular Current, which announced recently it was not going to run as a political party in the upcoming elections.
“The presidency should be asked about the reason for not inviting us, despite the invitation to our partners in the coalition, Al-Dostour and the Popular Alliance Party’s vice-president Medhat El-Zahed,” Popular Current spokesperson Ahmed Kamel told Daily News Egypt Monday.
The meeting comes a few days after the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) announced parliamentary elections are to start in mid-March until May.