Legislative elections to begin after constitution referendum
Egypt’s legislative elections will be launched within two months of the constitution referendum, Prime Minister Hisham Kandil has said, also asserting that previous elections since the 2011 revolution have been free and fair as observed by local and international watchdogs.
Speaking at the Egypt-E U Taskforce, Kandil said that the previous meeting with the IMF revealed a great deal of agreement over a number of principles, including the assurance that economic reform policies should be locally developed. He also stressed social justice and the importance of taking precautions against damaging economic stability.
The $4.8bn prospective IMF loan will be geared towards reducing the budget deficit, Kandil said, as well as enhancing the country’s foreign currency reserves.
The potential agreement with the IMF would represent a testimonial of trust assuring the solidity of Egyptian economy, thus encouraging the flow of capital into the country and bringing in foreign investment.
On the vital subject of state subsidies, Kandil said that the cabinet is currently studying the program and especially ensuring that it benefits those most in need.
On his vision for the future of Egypt, Kandil said his plan centres on working toward becoming a modernised state that uses the latest technologies and encourages innovation and investment.
“We are exerting our utmost efforts in order to secure the Egyptian people’s rights in full so that society can feel the difference” Kandil said.
Calling it “the main barrier to development,” Kandil stressed the need to combat corruption.
The PM also spoke on specific plans and programs by the government aimed at creating jobs and improving health services. These plans, he said, will become tangible reality soon.
On measures taken to encourage investment, Kandil said the government is now putting together a number of packages aimed at simplifying red-tape procedures that frustrate foreign investors. The PM said these packages will be available within two months.
Speaking at the same meeting, EU Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton said it would be “very difficult” to write a constitution that reflects the Egyptian people’s ambitions.
She also highlighted the EU’s role in freezing and retrieving funds related to corruption cases or former regime figures.
The European top diplomat said she had told Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi that civil society is the most important sector in Egypt through which he can hear the voice of the people. She also said she had assured Morsi of the EU’s genuine commitment to fulfilling all promises.
On the question of women’s rights in post-revolutionary Egypt, Ashton said that a society that doesn’t include women in political life cannot be a successful society.
Expressing appreciation for European support, Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr also said that Egypt has moved past the concept of “donor and receiver,” to policies based on “mutual benefit,” with the EU and other countries.