Egypt NDP Chief Says Early Presidential Poll Possible
The new head of Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party, Hossam Badrawi, said early presidential elections may be possible and that protesters calling for President Hosni Mubarak’s departure have won.
“The revolution has succeeded,” Badrawi, secretary- general of the party, said in an interview in Cairo today. “What’s the need for events that do not allow for economic development? We want work. We want companies to make profit and pay taxes. We want safety for tourism.”
Badrawi said the delegation of power to Vice President Omar Suleiman, rather than Mubarak’s resignation, would pave the way for a free presidential election. The party chief called for an early poll if constitutional amendments are adopted before September.
Mubarak in a speech late yesterday defied calls for his immediate resignation and said he would stay in office until the September vote, while handing day-to-day powers to Suleiman. The gesture didn’t placate protesters, who have been calling for the ouster of Mubarak and his regime since Jan. 25.
Finance Minister Samir Radwan said today that 1.2 million tourists had left the country and that exports had dropped 6 percent as a result of the unrest, which the United Nations says has claimed the lives of about 300 people.
Badrawi said he met with Mubarak on Feb. 9 and told him “it was time for him to delegate his powers.” The NDP leader said he urged the president by phone yesterday to speed up plans to address the people.
“Our aim is to carry out open presidential elections under judicial supervision,” said Badrawi. He was named head of the party on Feb. 5, replacing Gamal Mubarak, son of the Egyptian president.
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