Opposition Refuses to Resume Talks with Government [Archives:2001/32/Front Page]

August 6 2001

Seven main political parties decided not to respond to the call of the government to resume dialogue and discussions on the draft amendments of the election law. The opposition parties, including Islah, said on Wednesday that they weren’t attending the meeting with the government on Saturday. The opposition called the PGC to reconsider its stance and asked the government to create an atmosphere conducive to reconciliation and democracy, by way of solving the problems and rectifying the faults of the electoral system. The opposition expressed surprise at the government’s call to resume the discussion without meeting the proposals the opposition put to resume talks with the government. Opposition sources said that the call showed how serious the government was in constructive dialogue, adding that the government wants to propagate itself through dialogue and use it as a cover to bypass the amendments on Election Law. The opposition said the government hadn’t taken any measures that would make the resumption of dialogue possible before reaching fruitful results. It added that the government had not checked the opposition’s decision to cease dialogue, and that nothing new had been done to make the opposition parties change their mind. It seems that the dialogue on the amendments of Elections Law causes a problem, widening the gap between the government and the opposition. Mr. Abdulmalik Al-Mekhlafi, Secretary General of the Nasserite party said the government’s paper had created a gap between the views of both sides, making the opposition realize the futility of dialogue. The Assistant Secretary General of the Islah Party, Mr. Abdulwahab Al-Anesi said last week that the opposition wants a comprehensive dialogue in order to reform the electoral system at large rather than just make amendments to the Election Law. However, Mr. Abdulkader Bajammal said that his government would resume the dialogue with the parties which attend the meeting. He said that democracy did not only involve the political parties but also the civil organizations of society. He added that his government would take into account the positive views on amendments of Election Law. He attacked ruthlessly the opposition’s decision to freeze dialogue with the government in protest against the rise of diesel price.