A trail of broken promises
The National Front for the Completion of the Revolution's demands that President Mohamed Mursi keep his pre-election pledges have fallen on deaf ears, reports Mona El-Nahhas
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Members of the National Front for the Completion of the Revolution during a press conference
The National Front for the Completion of the Revolution blasted the performance of President Mohamed Mursi during a press conference held on Saturday. The front, which had allied itself with Mursi on the basis of promises made when he was still a presidential candidate, singled out the appointment of former irrigation minister Hisham Qandil as prime minister for particular criticism.
The press conference came a day after the front issued a statement blaming Mursi for failing to implement his earlier pledges and criticising the opaqueness of the process surrounding the selection of his first cabinet.
The National Front, which includes leftist and liberal forces among its members, was formed on 22 June, two days before the results of presidential election were announced. Mursi was present at its launch, and signed up to the six articles the coalition put forward in its national partnership document: the annulment of the complementary constitutional declaration; the appointment of a leading national figure as a prime minister to head a meritocratic cabinet with members drawn from across the political spectrum; a team of presidential advisors including women and Copts; the appointment of a crisis-management team to deal with the longstanding problems; a constituent assembly representing a wide range of political positions and greater transparency in all executive decision-making.
The coalition was formed amid growing fears that the delay in announcing the election results was being used as cover to rig the poll in favour of Mubarak's last prime minister Ahmed Shafik.
During the press conference leading front member Wael Ghoneim denied that the alliance with Mursi had ended.
"The front's position had not changed. We still believe that partnership is the best way forward. All we need from Mursi is a clear commitment to the six principles cited in the national partnership paper," Ghoneim told reporters.
But the newly elected president, says media expert Hamdi Qandil, has so far shown no inclination to abide by the pledges he made on the day the front was founded.
"From day one there was an agreement that the prime minister should be a leading patriotic figure," says Heba Raouf. "There was never any suggestion that a technocrat would head the new cabinet."
Raouf has called on Mursi to state explicitly the criteria he is following in making ministerial appointments and revealed that following his election Mursi closed channels of communication with the front.
Writer Sekina Fouad warned that by conducting negotiations behind closed doors and excluding the public from the decision-making process the new president is repeating the mistakes of the former regime.
So is the front likely to emerge as a centre of opposition to the new president?
It is a possibility, says writer-activist Wael Qandil, should the president not fulfil his pledges.
Whether or not he loses the support of the front is unlikely to weigh heavy on Mursi's calculations, says political analyst Mustafa El-Sayed.
"It's clear that Mursi will not respond to any of their demands if they are not first approved by the Muslim Brotherhood. Pleasing the Brotherhood is far more important to Mursi than courting a coalition that has little demonstrable grassroots support."