Thursday, 5 August 2010

The NDP tainted by medical care scandal and corruption

The National Democratic Party's (NDP) preparations for the upcoming People's Assembly elections are in full swing, with key figures reviewing the party's draft list of candidates and its draft platform.

This week, President Mubarak met with the NDP's Secretary General Safwat el Sherif and the head of the Policy Secretariat Gamal Mubarak to try to put the final touches to the NDP's political agenda, which will satisfy both the old and new guard inside the NDP.

There is an agreement from both camps that any new list will have to be based on a review of the performance of all its representatives from the outgoing 2005-10 parliament, with popularity and good reputation being decisive factors in determining which candidate will stand in the upcoming elections.

This criterion seems ever important given that the investigation into the growing medical care scandal continues, which has tarnished the image of many NDP deputies.

A number of NDP deputies have been charged with wasting state funds allocated for free medical treatment to their poorest constituents, and they are accused of manipulating the health care system to serve personal and family interests.

It has been reported in the Egyptian media that the NDP has prepared a list of 27 deputies implicated in the scandal, who are to be excluded from any new list. This indicates the desire of the NDP to clean up its image, and has been agreed with the old guard, which realises that it cannot continue to field unpopular candidates without the risk of further alienating the new guard inside the party.

Some names are guaranteed to appear on the final list, despite popularity and reputation. They include Fathi Sorour, the speaker of the People's Assembly, and member of the NDP's politburo, Zakaria Azmi, Chief of President Mubarak's Staff since 1989 and Kamal el Shazli, a long-serving NDP deputy known for his loyalty to the President.

Controversially, the list is likely to see an increased number of businessmen; more than the 2005 elections which witnessed 100 business candidates, of whom 68 won seats in the People's Assembly.

Those likely to appear on the new list include, Ahmed Ezz, NDP Secretary for Organisational Affairs, Mohammed Abu-Enein, Chairman of the Parliaments Industrial Committee and Tarek Talaat Mustafa, Chairman of the Parliament Housing Committee.

The final list is likely to be praised for its exclusion of deputies tainted by corruption and embezzlement but, at the same time, criticised for the growing presence of businessmen, who are perceived to have strengthened their grip on Egyptian politics through their infiltration into the central political, such as the People's Assembly, Shura Council and the NDP's Policy Secretariat.

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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