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Egypt: party calls on opponents to return for national dialogue

A woman waves an Egyptian flag in front of the Egyptian consulate in Istanbul on march 2, 2019 during a demonstration against death penalties in Egypt after the recent execution of nine men. [OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images]
A woman waves an Egyptian flag in front of the Egyptian consulate in Istanbul on 2 March 2019 [OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images]

An Egyptian political party called on the state authorities yesterday to allow political opponents living abroad to return to Egypt with the promise of freedom of speech should they choose to do so.

"Dissidents who have never been convicted in a court must be able to oppose the regime from within Egypt without fear," said the Call of Egypt party.

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said in April that he would launch a "National Dialogue" with the aim of reconciliation between the government and opposition.

"This national dialogue should be open and inclusive of anyone, unconditionally, including politicians, parties, academics and trade unions," the party pointed out. "It should be an opportunity for Egyptian society to crystallise new visions towards the challenges it faces."

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The party's head, Tarek Zidan, said that political reform is of "greater significance than industrialisation and economic reform." He noted that the national dialogue's priority must be the "authorities' commitment" to activate the articles of the constitution.

"While Egypt requires a new constitution, the dialogue should be about the implementation of Article 5 of the current constitution, which stipulates a political system that is based on political and partisan pluralism, the separation of powers, peaceful transfer of power, balance between powers and the non-transcendence of authority over others," Zidan added.

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