Gamal Mubarak announced to some 2,000 delegates that the government was at present working on reforms that would increase participation. ‘We have a set of specific recommendations that have been drafted by the policy secretariat,’ he told the local Al-Ahram Weekly before the conference. ‘These will be presented to the party conference and will hopefully receive its approval.’

Several NDP members also acknowledged that Egypt’s laws needed an overhaul if greater political freedom was to be introduced. ‘We are thinking about reviewing the law on political parties to give more freedom for new parties to be established and more freedom of action to those which already exist,’ said a member of the NDP policy secretariat.

However, opposition parties greeted the news of reform with scepticism, saying that the old guard would block change if it was against their interests. ‘There may be well-intentioned people in the NDP,’ said the leader of Egypt’s Taggamu