On Sunday, the chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), Saad El-Katatny, called on all political factions and national groups to come together to hold talks on the future of Egypt, now that the constitution has passed.
Explaining El-Katatny’s call for dialogue, FJP spokesperson Mohamed Soudan said the time had come for an end to demonstrations. “We need to start planning for the future of Egypt in order to build solid foundations,” Soudan explained.
El-Katatny’s call is an attempt to bridge the gap between the opposition, who view the constitution and newly appointed Shura Council as illegitimate, and the ruling party, who pushed for the referendum originally.
The Shura Council will assume legislative powers until Parliament is elected. Soudan stressed the need for dialogue was now greater than ever, saying all political and social forces have to come together to voice their opinions.
“We need to express ourselves peacefully,” Soudan said. “We don’t want to block the streets or hold sit-ins, we need to produce, we need to work, and we need to move forward.”
“What we need to do now, is focus on the roadmap for the next few months,” Soudan added, saying the FJP was eager to co-operate. “I want to tell the opposition ‘please, drop all these accusations and let us go forward to the next step.’”
To the FJP, the opposition should proceed to accept the results and work on changing the constitution from within parliament. Soudan estimated that half of the seats will be taken by Islamists, leaving the other half to be occupied by constituents from other groups.
To bring about change within the constitution, there must be a two-thirds majority vote of approval, making it virtually impossible for the opposition to change anything if half the parliament is Islamist. While there is nothing within the constitution the FJP disagrees with, according to Soudan, any amendments desired on their part would also require the co-operation of the opposition.
“If you have the ability to convince other members in Parliament, then you can generate change,” Soudan said, stressing Egypt’s economic situation warranted swift action on the president’s part. “We don’t have much time, our economy is in bad shape and we need to move forward, people must understand that the needs of the people are a priority over any political position.”
On Sunday, Mohamed El-Beltagy, a FJP leader, called for a national day of reconciliation next Friday, urging Egyptians to take to the streets with flowers in a show of national unity. His call is not an official party position however, and serves as a personal opinion rather than an organized event.
“Congratulations on the completion of the referendum,” his statement read, saying the constitution should not lead to a feud that would harm Egypt. El-Beltagy called on all Egyptians to “turn a page in history” and look to the future.