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Kefaya presents reform initiative to parliamentIntro: Fighting the battle for a peaceful shift of power in a historic tradition - Daily News Egypt

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Kefaya presents reform initiative to parliamentIntro: Fighting the battle for a peaceful shift of power in a historic tradition

CAIRO: Kefaya (Enough) movement leaders and members have decided demonstrations are not sufficient opposition to the government, and the movement is presenting what they call a “new reform initiative, and is currently negotiating its enactment with parliament members. “There is a need to engage the people to make a change, says George Ishaq, Kefaya founder …


CAIRO: Kefaya (Enough) movement leaders and members have decided demonstrations are not sufficient opposition to the government, and the movement is presenting what they call a “new reform initiative, and is currently negotiating its enactment with parliament members.

“There is a need to engage the people to make a change, says George Ishaq, Kefaya founder and leader. “We have to use the discussions, conferences and the dealings we have with movements that appear today.

Political forces, including some Muslim Brotherhood members, have supported Kefaya’s “reform initiative, and the movement is approaching parliament members with their two-year reform plan.

“We are currently in negotiations with the parliament because the initiative has to be presented through a legal entity that could be a pressure on the government to be approved. We are having a good response, Isaac tells The Daily Star Egypt.

“This initiative will take time. But we know that demonstrations alone will not work. the problem is that most of our people don’t care anymore. we need a national project to unite the people, says Ishaq.

During last week’s protests in support of reformist judges, Kefaya pro-reform activists were rounded-up by the hundreds, including fresh faces and new members of Kefaya that have yet to be registered in the movement’s records. The pre-trial activists remain in detention for charges including illegal assembly, hampering traffic and insulting the president of the state.

“In the protests, we broke the rule of the minister, of the police. But now it is time to take the change even further.

Kefaya’s reform initiative, according to its official declaration, states that an elected committee should be founded, a committee that includes representatives of political parties and forces in Egypt, including legally unrecognized forces like Kefaya and the banned-but-tolerated Muslim Brotherhood.

The newly founded committee’s main role is to supervise a two-year plan, with the committee being granted full supervision over the government and the direct cooperation of Egypt’s upper and lower houses of parliament.

“During two years, the Emergency Laws should be eliminated; articles of the constitution that stifle freedoms should be changed, amended or rewritten, read the statement. “Political parties, syndicates, civil society organizations and universities should function freely. The media should be freed. Every citizen should enjoy all human rights sanctioned by international laws.

Alaa Al-Aswani, prominent novelist and senior Kefaya member, said that Kefaya’s plan “is not new.

“Demanding that the ruler should step down, or even a new constitution be formed is not a Kefaya invention. It was done before, so it is possible, says Al-Aswani, referring to the 1919 revolution, where a committee led by Saad Zagloul succeeded in changing the country’s constitution; “a constitution that proved to be the best in Egypt’s history.

“This plan, which we are suggesting, has been a trend. a national move that is widely respected . and was even suggested by law experts here in Egypt many years ago, says Al-Aswani. “A shift of power is the only solution, the only way out for this country.

One of the main aims of the two-year reform plan is “forming a new constitution; one whose articles are voted upon by the people through a national referendum.

“This is the ultimate aim of this plan . this reform initiative, says Isaac. ” . That the people will have a say in the laws that govern them.

Coinciding with the presentation of Kefaya’s initiative are National Democratic Party leader Gamal Mubarak’s statements in an interview with the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya channel Wednesday evening, where the younger Mubarak insisted that “amendments to the constitution are not and should not be a priority or the main aim.

“We want to concentrate on fulfilling the reform plan that President Mubarak had called for during his political campaign. the main challenge for the government is to accomplish this plan, Gamal Mubarak told the channel.

In Kefaya’s statement, however, the movement said that the main reason behind their reform suggestions “is the fact that the regime has proved incapable of reform.

“The regime in Egypt is not serious in its claims of adopting a reform plan. it’s just playing with words, says Ishaq who believes that reform should not be expected from this government, but “be imposed on it.

Kefaya’s initiative also aims at “involving Egyptians living outside, especially in other countries in the Arab world. being part of the Egyptian nation in their reform plan. According to the statement, their efforts and their stand on reform “should be utilized and “[the] local cause should be presented to them.

“We know that we will pay a price in order to make a change. and we are willing to pay that price, we and other political groups and forces. We will just have to continue in our battle for a peaceful shift of power to be achieved, said Kefaya’s statement.

Agreeing, Al-Aswani tells The Daily Star Egypt that as the Kefaya plan is negotiated “the government will fight back fiercely.

“The regime will become a monster. Detentions and violence will occur, says Al-Awani. “And this reaction will be out of weakness in face of Kefaya, not of strength.

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