Cairo, Dec 26: President Hosni Mubarak on Tuesday pledged
to improve democracy in Egypt and abolish the 25-year state of
emergency once a new anti-terrorism law is passed.
Laying out the legislative agenda for 2007, Mubarak told
lawmakers he would soon ask them to amend 34 articles in the
Egyptian Constitution to "consecrate the people's sovereignty
as a source of power and give parliament more authority to
monitor the government."
"Today's historic step opens the door wide for democracy
and its practice," Mubarak said in a speech at his palace in
A leading Egyptian rights activist, Hisham Qassem, was
sceptical of the President's pledge as he has promised greater
democracy many times before during his 25 years in power.
"We have to go back to the gap between the regime's
actual practices and the demand for amendments ... Will the
regime really implement these amendments?" Qassem said.
Previous amendments were "followed by theatrical debate while
everything was already fixed."
Most of the reforms outlined today were promised by
Mubarak in his election campaign of 2005, but none came to
Parliament this year.
It is thought the government got cold feet when, two
months after the president elections, the Opposition Muslim
Brotherhood did surprisingly well in the legislative
elections of 2005.