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Mohamed Ali: Opposition groups unite in aid of changes in Egypt

Film producer and real-estate investor Mohamed Ali Abdel Khaleq at during an interview with MEMO in London, UK [Middle East Monitor]
Film producer and real-estate investor Mohamed Ali during an interview with MEMO in London, UK [Middle East Monitor]

Egyptian whistleblower Mohamed Ali confirmed a consensus document has been composed in collaboration with opposition politicians living in exile, to address the urgent long-term economic reforms needed in Egypt; calling for the toppling of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

The framework for the democratic future of Egypt arranged in the document insists Egyptians are ready to enter a new phase which prioritises gender equality and the fight against all type of violence against women.

Along with the freedom of association and the freedom of speech, it talks about a democratic civil state protected by the rule of law and the independence of the executive, legislative and judicial powers.

"This is a historic document as it sets in stone the values of the January Revolution: democracy, freedom, social justice and human dignity. I developed it on the basis of the many suggestions and inputs I received from all the entities I have been in talks with," says Ali.

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He spent the last three months trying to unite disparate Egyptian opposition forces, including liberals and the Muslim Brotherhood, behind a common programme to save the country's economy and institutions.

On 29 July the national statistics agency released a long-delayed report on household finances, which revealed that 32.5 per cent per cent of Egypt's 99 million people were classified as poor last year, up from 28 per cent in 2015.

Graffiti work illustrating a woman living in poverty in Egypt [Samia elsaid/Twitter]

Street art illustrating a woman living in poverty in Egypt [Samia elsaid/Twitter]

Moreover, in a report published by the World Bank in April, it was calculated that "some 60% of Egypt's population is either poor or vulnerable."

Economic reforms under a 2016 loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in exchange for a $12 billion loan may have earned Al-Sisi international praise, but not from his own citizens, as it led to the introduction of valued added tax, devalued the currency and raised the prices of electricity and fuel.

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Ali says opposition politicians in exile have heeded the call to work towards a vision which will preserve of the nation's independence and observe an enhanced protection of minorities as well as the full implementation of international laws and covenants for the respect of human rights.

He adds: "It might not reflect 100% of the exact aspirations of everybody and some words might not be totally agreed by some entities. However, this document does reflect the general consensus on basic principles and top priorities. And this is what matters most: despite all their ideological differences, the coalition members have more in common: their desire to establish the rule of the civilians by the civilians, whoever they are."

"What Sisi did in 2013 was a military coup against an elected President who died in prison. The consensus in the Egyptian opposition is clear: Sisi and his henchmen must step down. And Egyptians must be heard again."

Ali's unscripted videos accusing Sisi of corruption and hypocrisy after exposing the extent of Sisi's crimes sparked nationwide protests in Egypt and triggered a series of hashtags on social media that have reflected the growing anger among Egyptians.

While working with the military, Ali said his company routinely paid bribes to the military's business arm – Engineering Authority – to secure contracts for lucrative projects, such as the building of presidential palaces and luxury hotels.

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While dismissing the corruption allegations, Al-Sisi has said he would continue building new presidential residences for the good of Egypt. "I am building a new country," the president said.

Over the years, critics have questioned the expanding role of the military in the business world and its economic interests, as well as its seemingly unfair competition with the country's private sector. They say the military enjoys advantages because it is exempt from taxation and proper auditing.

The consensus document consists of a proposal imposing a strict limitation of the military, whose function will be under the supervision of elected representative bodies.

It also delves into the restructuration of state institutions and constitutional and democratisation reforms that will lead to democratic elections.

The practical application of these rules to establish Egypt's future governance would require overthrowing Al-Sisi and his military dictatorship and the release of all political prisoners before proceeding to a transitional phase based on the delivery of a consensual comprehensive national project.

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