Friday,20 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1207, (24 - 30 July 2014)
Friday,20 October, 2017
Issue 1207, (24 - 30 July 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Left out in the cold

The political alliance led by political veteran Amr Moussa will exclude members of Hosni Mubarak’s ruling NDP,  Gamal Essam El-Din reports

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Al-Ahram Weekly

Amr Moussa, former foreign minister and chairman of the 50-member committee which drafted Egypt’s new constitution last January, announced this week that there would not be electoral coalition between the Alliance of the Egyptian Nation and two blocs led by diehards from former president Hosni Mubarak’s now defunct National Democratic Party (NDP).

Moussa’s alliance is expected to include the Al-Wafd, Al-Tagammu, Egyptian Social Democratic, Reform and Development, Geel (Generation) and Conservative Parties. The General Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions (GEFTU), the Syndicate of Farmers and the Tamarod movement are also members.

Wafd Party officials said they only agreed to join Moussa’s grouping on condition NDP remnants be excluded.

The Alliance’s manifesto, drafted by Al-Ahram political analysts Emad Gad and Amr Al-Chobaki, states clearly that there will be no coordination with “corrupt symbols” of the regimes of either Hosni Mubarak or Mohamed Morsi.

The National Movement Party, led by Mubarak’s last prime minister and failed 2012 presidential election candidate Ahmed Shafik, and Misr Baladi (Egypt My Homeland), led by former interior minister Ahmed Gamaleddin, lashed out at Moussa, accusing him of giving in to blackmail from the Wafd Party.

Mustafa Bakri, a leading member of Misr Biladi and editor of the weekly Al-Osbou, denied Shafik’s or Gamaleddin’s parties included any NDP diehards.

“The two groups include officials who worked under Hosni Mubarak but they were serving the state, not a regime,” said Bakri. He claimed neither Shafik or Gamaleddin had ever been members of the NDP.

“Shafik was a high-profile state official who was selected to be a prime minister at a critical time, and in order to save the state from collapse.” Gamaleddin was a senior police officer who was promoted to the post of interior minister by Mohamed Morsi: “he never joined the NDP and has pointed out, on many occasions, how the constitution banned police officers from joining political parties”.

According to Bakri the Shafik and Gamaleddin factions are in coordinating with some political forces which supported the presidential campaign of ex-army chief Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi. They include the Independent Current, an umbrella grouping of the Democratic Peace, Sadat Democratic, Misr Biladi, Misr Arab Socialist, Knights of Egypt, National Guardian, Democratic Union, Al-Ahrar, Umma, National Unity and Young Egypt Parties.

Yasser Hassan, chairman of the Wafd Party’s media committee, told Al-Ahram Weekly that the Wafd would never agree to join in a coalition with Mubarak-era leftovers. “We were clear that we wanted a civil alliance committed to a liberal democracy and the complete separation of religion and politics,” said Hassan. “The Wafd refuses to join hands with NDP figures associated with an era of political and financial corruption.”

Ahmed Fawzi, a leading member of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, said agreement on joining Moussa’s alliance was conditional on there being “ no place for anyone who sees the 25 January revolution as a conspiracy or the 30 June Revolution as a military coup”.

The Wafd’s Party’s Higher Council is due to meet this week to give a final say on whether or not it will throw in its lot with Moussa’s alliance.

Time is running out political forces, says Hassan. They need to take a final position over whether they will join alliances ahead of the polls within a week. “Official preparations for the polls have already begun. All parties should be in a position to make their election plans — including any alliances — public by the end of the week,” he argued.

On Sunday Tamarod Movement spokesman Mohamed Nabawi said there would be a meeting this week for a final discussion of the Alliance of the Egyptian Nation’s manifesto.

Omar Simida, chairman of the Congress Party, said he was saddened by the divisions that have emerged between Moussa’s alliance and the Shafik and Gamaleddin blocs.

“It is a bad sign that civilian political forces which played a major role in ridding Egypt of the Muslim Brotherhood are unable to find common ground ahead of the polls,” he said. “Anyone should be free to join Moussa’s alliance except those convicted of corruption.”

On 14 July Cairo’s Appeal Court for Urgent Matters ruled that leading officials of Mubarak’s NDP could stand in parliamentary elections, overturning an earlier ban. The court argued that the new constitution strips individuals of their political rights only if a final judgment of criminal wrongdoing has been found against them.

Simida believes that divisions among civilian political forces will give Muslim Brotherhood an opportunity to besmirch the coming parliament. “The Congress Party still hopes to bring the Moussa, Shafik and Gamaleddin groupings into a single bloc,” he said.

Amin Radi, secretary-general of the Congress Party and a former NDP official, argues that lack of coordination among civilian forces will lead to a fractious parliament. “We need political forces to coordinate for a consensus government to be formed,” he says.

NDP membership stood at three million when Mubarak was forced from office in February 2011. “It would be a grave mistake for Moussa’s alliance to ignore such numbers, or to brand them all symbols of a corrupt age,” said Radi.

The Congress Party, founded by Moussa two years ago, hoped to bring liberal political forces under one umbrella. Moussa left his post as chairman of the party after becoming chairman of the 50-member committee which drafted the new constitution last January.

The Democratic Civilian Alliance, an alternative to the Moussa coalition, comprises leftist and liberal revolutionary forces which emerged after Mubarak was ousted. It includes the Karama Party and the Popular Current, both founded by presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, and the Constitution and Al-Adl (Justice) Parties.

Yaqout Al-Senousi, secretary-general of the Constitution Party, said the Democratic Civilian Alliance “stands firm against both Muslim Brotherhood and the NDP feloul (remnants)”.

“We want to be a major force in the new parliament, pressing towards the goals of the 25 January and 30 June revolutions,” said Al-Senousi.

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