Home>News Center>World

Egyptian opposition rejects Laura Bush comments
Updated: 2005-05-24 18:26

Opponents of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Tuesday rejected U.S. first lady Laura Bush's interpretation of Egyptian politics, saying they could not even see the progress she was praising.

"There are no reform steps at all. The regime is still following the dictatorial and repressive method toward the Egyptian people and opposition," said Mohamed Habib, deputy leader of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood.

Laura Bush said on Monday that Mubarak's proposal to introduce direct presidential elections was bold and wise and that political reform must happen slowly.

"We feel the speed is not even slow, but even backwards sometimes," said Mazen Mustafa, a member of the liberal Ghad Party and the Kefaya protest movement.

"I don't think Mrs Bush represents the administration and she is not aware of the government's low maneuvers," he added.

Laura Bush's remarks, made during a visit to the Giza pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo, adopted the Egyptian government position on Mubarak's proposal and on the pace of reform which Egypt can sustain.

The opposition says that a constitutional amendment on how to choose the president will in effect ensure that the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) can stay in power indefinitely.

They are calling on Egyptians to boycott Wednesday's referendum on the amendment, which sets tough conditions for independents and political parties to seek the presidency.

The recognized parties have an exemption from the conditions this year but analysts say that after years of exclusion from the mainstream media they cannot field a credible rival to Mubarak, who is widely expected to seek a fifth six-year term.

Habib said: "The regime is eager to ensure that the situation remains just as stagnant and frozen as ever. The emergency law is still in place and public freedoms are still suffering from deficiency and atrophy."

Habib said the number of Brotherhood members in custody had reached 960 in a crackdown which began in March. Most of the charges are for offences such as belonging to an outlawed organization, organizing demonstrations, possessing leaflets for distribution or "inciting hatred of the regime."

Laura Bush had more praise for Mubarak and the Egyptian government on Tuesday when she spoke to a group of Egyptian women at the U.S. ambassador's residence.

"Egypt is a very, very important friend of the United States. We have a longtime friendship, and Egypt has been a leader in peacemaking, and I appreciate that," she told.

  Today's Top News     Top World News

US poised to ratchet up textile protectionism



China chides Japan leaders' remarks



Industrial profits slow in first months



China sees no sign of N.Korea nuclear test



No consensus on UN Council change



China risks becoming world hi-tech waste bin


  Car bombings across Iraq kill dozens
  NASA postpones move of discovery
  Palestinians announce delay in elections
  US Senate briefly recesses after plane scare
  Bush rebuffs Karzai's request on troops
  No consensus on UN Council change
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  Related Stories  
US first lady treats husband to rib and roast
US First Lady to meet with Afghan women
Text of Laura Bush's speech at RNC
Laura Bush: Why I think you should re-elect my husband?
First lady, first sign on Rumsfeld?
Book unveils life of Laura Bush
Laura Bush urges parents to reassure children
  News Talk  
  Are the Republicans exploiting the memory of 9/11?