Two Egyptian liberal parties announce merger
Democratic Front Party will join permanently with the Free Egyptians Party
Ahram Online, Saturday 21 Dec 2013
Two liberal Egyptian political parties, the Free Egyptians Party and the Democratic Front Party, announced their merger on Saturday afternoon.
A statement by the Free Egyptians Party read at the conference claimed the decision "aims to bring together the secular current under one roof and to encourage other groups and parties that belong to the same faction to unite out of political necessity."
The statement went on to add that the new merger would pave the way for the emergence of a "liberal political bloc capable of sweeping electoral victories."
Billionaire business tycoon Naguib Sawiris, who is a founder of the Free Egyptians Party, said during the conference that the newly merged party will campaign for a yes vote in the upcoming constitutional referendum, scheduled for 14-15 January.
Sawiris also added that the new party supports holding presidential elections before parliamentary polls. Interim authorities have not yet taken a decision as to which election will be held first.
Liberal figure and head of the Democratic Front Party Osama El-Ghazaly Harb said that, legally, the best scenario was for members of the party to all officially join the Free Egyptians party. He also called on other liberal figures to follow suit.
Several political figures attended the conference, including legal pundit Yahia El-Gamal, Nasserist figure and ex-presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi and head of the leftist Tagammu Party Refaat El-Said.
The Free Egyptians Party was founded in 2011 in the wake of the 18-day uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak. It led a secular alliance, the Egyptian Bloc, during the first post-Mubarak parliamentary elections in November 2011 and secured 33 out of 498 elected seats.
The Democratic Front Party was established in 2007 but came to prominence after the 2011 revolution.