ET hosts seminar of Committee for Party Youth Representatives



Wed, 29 Aug 2018 - 01:52 GMT


Wed, 29 Aug 2018 - 01:52 GMT

ET hosts seminar of Committee for Party Youth Representatives

ET hosts seminar of Committee for Party Youth Representatives

CAIRO - 28 August 2018: Egypt Today hosted on Tuesday a number of Committee for Party Youth Representatives’ (CPYR) members to hold a seminar in which the young partisans and politicians revealed the committee’s plans to develop and enrich the political life in Egypt in the coming period. The CPYR is made up of young political parties members and young political actors.

What is the goal of launching the CPYR?

Shehab Wagih, spokesperson for CPYR: The 2011 Revolution proved that we need political entities that can create effective policies and real solutions to the problems facing the Egyptian society. The actual crisis that faced the Egyptian political life in the past was the absence of those who can practice politics clearly and systematically. Therefore, everyone supported the idea of establishing an entity to solve political problems, and create a strong political life and not just prepare themselves for assuming higher positions in their parties.

The CPYR includes parties representing the right-wing politics, such as the Salafist Nour Party and the Wafd Party, while the left-wing politics is represented by the Tagammu Party. There also a large number of independent young politicians who are not affiliated with any political parties.

Shehab Wagih, spokesperson for CPYR

Bilal Habash, member of the CPYR and member of the political bureau of the Free Egyptians Party: After the last presidential elections, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi showed a genuine intention to develop the political and party life in Egypt. One of the tools to achieve that goal was the launch of the CPYR which will play a vital role in the next period. We succeeded in the first step and formed the political formation of the CPYR.

Amr Younes, secretary of the CPYR: Our entity is distinguished with its political diversity. It represents 20 parties with different political directions. The CPYR allows everyone to express his opinion freely to ensure reaching a final outcome that suits everyone.

Mohamed Azmy, secretary of Youth at the Egyptian Patriotic Movement Party: The idea of establishing the CPYR was based on creating a platform for political dialogue in which the opposition parties and young political forces are represented to present their ideas.

Mohamed Mehany, the secretary of Freedom Party, said that there was a lack of a unified body encompassing all political actors, and that the idea to merge all political parties was not accepted when first proposed, leaving the political scene unclear.

Mehany added: President Sisi's attention to empowering youth's role in the country's progress is unprecedented, encouraging us to propose our ideas to the state, in order to provide a model of young people who can take responsibilities, and assume high rank positions. The media has also a role in supporting the Committee for Party Youth Representatives (CPYR) because it works for the sake of the country.

What are the parties eligible for joining the CPYR?

Amr Younes: There are membership criteria of the CPYR for parties, and we have seven parties that have submitted applications to join the committee and the criteria will be applied to them. The founding document of the CPYR requires that its party members be represented in the parliament and have a political program.

Is there any conflict between the CPYR’s rules and member parties’ ones?

Ahmed Meqled, member of Mo’tamar Party’s presidential board: Our ultimate goal is to solve the problems facing different parties through the CPYR. All the committee’s decisions are made after intensive consultations to avoid any conflicts, especially since there is a difference between the parliamentary coalition, political party and bloc organizations.

We will announce soon the progress of a certain process that we have started recently, and aims at accepting the presence of diverse political parties. There are also some legislative problems and we are working on to solve them.

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Amr Younes, secretary of the CPYR

What are the laws that the CPYR targets to amend?

Shahab Wageh: We are working on specific laws related to the development of political life, and we aim to achieve consensus on these laws, but we do not want to create a parallel parliament.

Bilal Habash: We prepare some amendments to the Law No. 45 of 2014 to regulate the exercise of political rights, and other laws regulating political parties, youth bodies and local administrations.

Speaking about amendments to political parties law, do you target to change the financial support regulations of the parties?

Shehab Wagih: There are two opinions inside the CPYR, where the majority sees that the parties should rely on their resources, while the other opinion thinks that the state's support is useful and strengthens the parties. Discussions in this regard are still underway and no decision has been made thus far.

How did the CPYR attract different political parties, including the opposition, and prompted them to join the committee?

Amr Younes: Following the presidential election, President Sisi urged political parties to unify to merge along similar ideological lines to produce fewer entities. He also called on activating article five of the constitution, which states that the political system is based on political and party pluralism, the peaceful transfer of power, the separation of powers and the balance between them, and respect for human rights and freedoms.

The youth conference held in Sharm el-Sheikh this year was the biggest incentive for the youth to join the CPYR after what they witnessed during the official sessions in the conference. A large number of parties and politicians are asking to join the committee now due to its good reputation for offering free dialogue, and the diversity of ideologies within the committee reassures any opposition party to communicate with us.

What is the current organizational structure of the CPYR?

Amr Younes: The committee has no secretary or president. We are all equal members in the rights, obligations and even the sub-committees are formed by volunteering.

The National Youth Conference held in May included a debate titled “Analyzing the Egyptian Political Scene from Youth’s Perspective” regarding the current political parties’ system. The debate managed to capitalize on the current system’s failures, and which measures need to be taken to rejuvenate the political scene in Egypt.

In order to account for these issues and find constructive solutions for them, an Organizational Committee for Political Parties was formed, with representatives from all Egyptian political parties, according to Gehad Seif al-Islam, a representative of the Mo’tamar party. Of the more than 160 representatives present in the committee, they managed to self-elect a few representatives to speak at the National Youth Conference.

Ibrahim al-Shehaby, a representative of Al-Geel (The Generation) Party, argued that the state for many years used to treat politics with a crisis management strategy, not with the aim to “strategically build” but with the aim to end the crisis at hand. “The result was that political parties and politics were being dealt with on an ad hoc basis, because bigger challenges were being met at the same time,” Shehaby explained.

Moving forth with his speech, Shehaby outlined three main points pertaining to increasing youth’s political participation: the construction of Al-Kader political school through the National Academy for Training Youth; creating a national forum for public policies; finding a mechanism to make the most out of the political minds in executive management; and establishing local, regional and international forums for youth.

Ibrahim al-Shehaby, a representative of Al-Geel (The Generation) Party, speaking during the session, May 16, 2018 - YouTube/Extra News

In terms of the Al-Kader Political School, its main mission would be to “create top political minds that would discuss society’s issues and its main aim would be to widen the base of youth’s political participation in the political realm,” Shehaby explained. “We don’t want the upcoming political minds to have been educated according to set dogmas by rights organizations or organizations that do not possess sound ideologies.” According to Shehaby, this political school would safeguard the country from future generations educated with a doctrine of “let’s demolish it to rebuild it.” As for the forums, Shehaby reiterated that they would constitute solid, appropriate platforms for issues to be discussed constructively.

Bilal al-Habash, a representative of the Free Egyptians Party, was asked during the session over what should be done to increase political parties’ participation in the Egyptian political scene to a point where it is felt by the population other than in the times of elections.

Habash explained that citizens should be accustomed to political parties playing a role in their lives and offering them certain services and advantages. “But when an individual has an issue and comes to a political party to have it fixed, [the party can’t] because the executive governmental institutions have problems with parties and do not cooperate with them. We ask the president to fix this issue, please.”

Another issue Habash pointed out was the media’s portrayal of political parties in Egypt. “Some media platforms portray political parties as useless, even though we see otherwise,” he stated.

He said "our goal is to create a suitable environment for the political and partisan life in Egypt," adding that CPYR will be "the intermediate link between the state and the political parties, and will seek to form new political elite representatives who will take over the role of connecting both the state and the parties together for the coming several years in Egypt."

Most representatives in the debate agreed on several points, whether directly or indirectly: first, political parties in Egypt are not playing the role political parties usually do in a developed state; second, political parties were perceived to be useless and their numbering over 100 was making their situation more difficult, especially when only a few are well established in the scene; and finally, having the older generations dominating them was rendering them practically impotent and was ensuring their demise.

All representatives concurred that political parties required great reforms and that those reforms needed palpable manifestations in Egyptian society. Directing their speeches to President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, they also all concurred that only he could grant and orchestrate these reforms.

The topic may have been discussed formally and publicly for the first time, but it is not new. Many would concur that Egypt’s political scene has been stagnant, especially where political parties are concerned.



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