The secretary of the Salafist El-Nour Party in Alexandria, Tarek Fahim, criticised Friday the newly formed Salafist rival Al-Watan Party, saying it is not based on Islamic Sharia law. Fahim said he expects the new party to exert little influence in the coming parliamentary elections.
"Al-Watan is just another party on the scene. It is based only on a few names and figures," said Fahim who added during a forum held by his party in the coastal city of Alexandria that unlike El-Nour Party, which proudly admits being based on religious references, Al-Watan party is not.
Fahim refuted that the withdrawal of members from El-Nour Party and their joining Al-Watan would have an effect on his party, saying that "El-Nour Party is an institutionalised party that is not built on individuals like most of the parties on the political scene."
Last Month, El-Nour Party was slammed with the resignation of 150 of its members. The conflict that caused the mass withdrawal was primarily between followers of Emad Abdel-Ghafour, former chairman, and followers of cleric Yasser El-Borhami, one of the founders of the Salafist Calling, a movement that spawned El-Nour Party in 2011.
Al-Watan Party's spokesperson, Mohamed Nour, responded to Fahim's statements by saying that no one has the right to speak of the party but its members.
"The coming parliamentary elections will show the real weight of each party," Nour told Al-Ahram Arabic news website, urging El-Nour Party to focus on building up capacities instead of entering into confrontation with Al-Watan Party.
Al-Watan Party was launched Tuesday by Abdel-Ghaffour in addition to other resigned members.
Egypt's second post-revolution parliamentary elections are expected to be held 60 days after the approval of the new constitution, 25 December 2012.
In 2011, El-Nour Party along with the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party dominated the elections, gaining around 60 per cent of seats in parliament.