Experts: NDP congress yields “nothing new”

Local experts in politics, economics and mass communication have severely criticized the ruling National Democratic Party’s (NDP’s) sixth annual congress, which wrapped up on Monday.

Diaa Rashwan, vice-president of the semi-official Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, wondered why the NDP holds annual conferences that never yield any viable solutions to Egypt’s myriad problems. “The only tangible thing to come out of the congress was the announcement of new prices to be paid by the government for certain agricultural crops,” he said.

“It would have been understandable if the party reserved its attacks only for the Muslim Brotherhood opposition group,” Rashwan added. “But the fact that the NDP attacked all Egyptian opposition parties suggests that it lives in total isolation.”

Professor of agricultural economics Hossam el-Saadani said that the new agricultural purchase prices announced at the congress actually benefited traders rather than farmers. “Traders have already purchased crops from the farmers at the old prices,” he said.

“The party’s attacks on the opposition mean that we’re exiting the Hosni Mubarak era and entering that of his son, Gamal,” said Al-Ahram Center political analyst Amr el-Shobki, referring to the dizzying political trajectory of the president’s 46-year-old son. “The congress was the final rehearsal before the de facto inheritance of the presidency.”

According to Al-Ahram Center Assistant Director Wahid Abdel Meguid, the NDP congress — by focusing on next year’s parliamentary elections and ignoring presidential elections to be held the year after — “delivered the message that the upcoming transition of power is none of the opposition’s business.”

Professor of mass communication Safwat el-Alem criticized the official slogan of congress, “For You.” “This phrase is meant to mask party policies that have been the cause of numerous social and economic problems in Egypt,” he said. “The focus on farmers at the congress is evidence that the party has been neglecting them all along.”

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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