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Viewing cable 09CAIRO1266, RUMORS OF THE DISSOLUTION OF EGYPT'S PARLIAMENT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09CAIRO1266 2009-07-06 05:05 2011-02-16 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo
VZCZCXRO6311
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #1266/01 1870519
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 060519Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3125
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 001266 
 
SIPDIS 
 
FOR NEA/ELA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/02/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM PHUM EG
SUBJECT: RUMORS OF THE DISSOLUTION OF EGYPT'S PARLIAMENT 
CONTINUE TO SWIRL 
 
REF: CAIRO 1183 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1.Key Points: -- (U) The media continues to report a possible dissolution of the Egyptian People,s Assembly (PA) within the coming week. -- (C) National Democratic Party,s (NDP) leaders including PA Speaker Dr. Fathi Surour and NDP Secretary General Safwat Sherif continue to publically contradict or evade dissolution rumors; privately, officials hint that dissolution and early elections should be expected. -- (SBU) In the end the decision rests with President Mubarak. According to the Egyptian constitution it is his alone to make. ------------- Media Reports -------------

2.(U) According to the latest press reports the decision to dissolve the People,s Assembly (PA) has already been made. Youm7 reports that the decision was made in a June 30 meeting of the ruling National Democratic Party,s (NDP) Policies Committee, led by Gamal Mubarak. The report said dissolution could come in days and elections would follow within 45 days. (Note: The law requires that a new PA be elected no more than 60 days after its dissolution. The law also requires a minimum of 30 days for campaigning. With the new session set to start in November that means dissolution would have to take place by early September with elections in October. End Note.)

3.(U) Senior NDP officials continue to publically deny the dissolution rumors. In an interview with the Arabic weekly Al Mosawir published on July 1, Speaker of the People,s Assembly Dr. Fathi Surour continued to dance around the issue. Saying that he did not have any "news" on an imminent dissolution but that that dissolution was within President Mubarak,s constitutional rights and a decision could come at any time. He added that being prepared for surprises is a "normal thing" for any party. On June 25, NDP Secretary General Safwat Sherif, in an interview with the state-owned magazine Al Muwasser, joined the chorus of NDP officials publically denying dissolution rumors. Sherif did say that the NDP is not wasting any time preparing for the elections and this had led to rumors of dissolution. --------------------------------------------- ----------- NDP Insiders Allow Room for Dissolution and See Benefits --------------------------------------------- -----------

4.(C) In private NDP insiders are no longer emphatically denying that dissolution is imminent (reftel). Only three weeks ago MP Mustapha el-Fekki Chair of the PA Committee on Foreign Relations and NDP Policies Committee Member told the Ambassador that dissolution would not happen. At our July 1 Independence Day celebration el-Fekki was far less categorical, indicating that Gamal Mubarak might know, hinting that a dissolution was possible. Earlier that day Minister of Investment Mahmoud Mohieldin told the Ambassador that the NDP leadership was telling its members to "be prepared."

5.(C) Mohiedin suggested that the NDP sees the early elections as a way to better organize the upcoming electoral calendar by separating the PA elections, now slated for 2010, from the Shura Council (upper house of parliament) elections also scheduled for 2010 and the 2011 presidential elections. Critics view this as an NDP strategy to ensure that the elections bring an NDP super-majority by sidelining the opposition, especially the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). That strategy seeks to take advantage of public apathy for elections held in the summer vacation season or Ramadan and limit success by severely cutting short the time to organize and campaign as well as ending incumbents advantages including parliamentary immunity from criminal prosecution. ------------------------------------------ Opposition Not Unified in its Expectations ------------------------------------------

6.(C) Embassy contacts outside the NDP remain split on the likelihood of dissolution. Independent (Nasserist leaning) MP CAIRO 00001266 002 OF 002 Dr. Gamal Zahran was not convinced that dissolution would happen, although he said credible sources in the NDP had raised it with him. Zahran echoed similar comments from several other contacts who felt that the President had no "logical" reason for dissolution. President of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Hisham Kassem also said that he did not believe that Parliament would be dissolved saying "there was really no benefit to doing so" but added that he had also heard people speak of it as "likely." Other opposition contacts have told us that they view recent arrests of Muslim Brotherhood leaders (septel to follow) as "writing on the wall" dissolution was around the corner. Foreign Relations Chair of the Democratic Front Party Mohammed Nosseir likened the push within the NDP to an injection that may hurt a little at first but is best to get over with right away. He added its "good for them now because we (the opposition) are not ready." -------------------- NDP-Opposition Deal? --------------------

7.(C) Other press reports claim that opposition parties like El Wafd and Tagammu are being allocated seats in the next PA in a grand deal with the NDP. In a recent meeting, El Wafd Secretary General Mounir Fakhry AbdelNour confirmed to PolOff that some in his party were advocating for such a deal while others felt it would discredit the party. He said he felt his party was ready for early elections, and was not inclined to make such a deal. The Democratic Front Party,s Nosseir suggested that an explicit deal was unlikely, but said that enough oppositionists want their PA seat and would be happy to see the NDP essentially concede in their district. ------- Comment -------

8.(C) Comment: At the end of the day the decision still rests exclusively with the President, who alone has the constitutional power to dissolve te parliament. The rumors swirling in the media my reflect the views of a camp within the NDP advcating for dissolution. However, it appears that President Mubarak has not yet made his decision ad it is his decision to make. If the PA is disslved we expect there will be little to no prior ntice and elections will be called as quickly as he law allows. SCOBEY