Egypt govt scurries to contain political fallout from Tunisia uprising

The Egyptian government, the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), the Workers Union, and a number of other official authorities have begun taking extraordinary measures to combat the country's economic woes and find solutions to socio-economic “sources of tension" following Friday's overthrow of Tunisian President Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali.

According to experts, these efforts amount to little more than attempts to avoid widespread public protests like those seen in Tunisia over the past month, which led to the Tunisian president's departure from the country.

An NDP source told Al-Masry Al-Youm that, at a meeting with Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif on Saturday, the party had recommended “the avoidance of issuing any statements, or taking any measures, that could upset citizens or add to existing pressures in the near term.”

The same sources also said that an emergency meeting of Egypt's Council of Ministers on Saturday had touched on the same issue.

Meanwhile, President Hosni Mubarak held a closed-door meeting with the National Defense Council (NDC) on Saturday to discuss the new measures, Qatar-based satellite television network Al Jazeera reported.  According to Al Jazeera, the NDC has decided on a number of “precautionary measures to avoid provoking citizens in the coming period,” including the postponement of any planned “price hikes or new taxes."

Egypt's Constitution establishes the NDC as the president's principal advisory body for all matters relating to national security. The council is comprised of the president; the ministers of defense, interior and foreign affairs; the director of general intelligence; and a number of other top officials.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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