President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during National Youth Day celebrations on Jan. 9, 2016. Photo courtesy of Egyptian Presidency
CAIRO, Oct 21 (Aswat Masriya) - Parties of the Democratic Alliance decided against participating in the first National Youth Conference in Sharm al-Sheikh, according to a statement by the alliance on Friday.
The parties gathered on Thursday and agreed to turn down the invitation to participate in the conference that is scheduled to take place on Oct.25
The conference, which is sponsored by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, will be held over three days and will involve discussions covering a range of topics including economics and politics.
Sisi has declared 2016 to be "the year of the youth" and stressed repeatedly on the state's keenness on young people to take on leadership positions.
Al-Wafd Party, The Conference Party, The Free Egyptians Party and Nation's Future Party said they will participate in the conference.
But the Democratic Alliance , which includes al-Karama party, Socialist Popular Alliance party and al-Dostour party, said that the parties will not participate in any events aimed at " taking souvenir photos and covering the real problems that include poverty, increase in prices and absence of basic services as health and education".
The alliance criticised the government's policies for "closing the horizon" in front of the youth for "peacefully" expressing their opinions, with "hundreds of youth in prisons and in pre-trial detention for long periods" for violating the "unconstitutional protest law".
The law, which was introduced in 2013, imposes restrictions on protests and many Egyptians mostly youth, have been detained and convicted of violating it and protesting without obtaining prior approval from the interior ministry.
The alliance said that "the youth's dreams will not be realised by holding mass conferences" and called on the government to create job opportunities and leaving room for imagination, creativity and freedom.