The Al-Wasat Party, a long-time Muslim Brotherhood ally, pulled out of the Islamist group's National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) on Thursday, arguing that a wider, more inclusive grouping is necessary to face Egyptian authorities.
The party's spokesman, Amr Farouk, told Ahram Online that a main reason for the withdrawal is Egypt's increasing political polarisation, which forced the party to look for a way to reach out to others – especially the country's youth, who he says feel alienated from the NASL.
"One of the main solutions is to gather the forces of the 25 January revolution under one umbrella," he said, while stressing that his party was active with these forces before the 2011 uprising.
The party acknowledges the need to "correct" the path of the 30 June 2013 uprising, he says – but rejects Morsi's ouster, which it sees as a coup.
He insists Al-Wasat doesn't blindly follow the Brotherhood – he's quick to point out that the party didn't vote for Morsi, a Brotherhood leader, in the first round of the 2012 presidential election.
He also denies that Thursday's withdrawal is an attempt to pressure the Brotherhood into taking a different political route. Rather, the move shows how Al-Wasat is different than the Brotherhood, he says.
Indeed, disputes between Al-Wasat and the Brotherhood were apparent as early as 2012, when Al-Wasat's deputy head Mohamed Mahsoub resigned from Morsi's first cabinet over disagreements with its leadership.
However, the party was a vehement opponent of the 30 June protests which led to Morsi's ouster – and it stuck it out with the NASL for over a year after it was formed.
Farouk argues that by leaving the NASL, the party also steps out of the currently ongoing standoff between authorities and the Brotherhood.
Another resistance front will not be formed any time soon, he says. Instead, the party will focus on holding conferences and lectures and working towards a vision to resolve the current political crisis.
He insists that the party's president, Abul-Ela Mady, currently in police custody pending trial for Brotherhood-linked violence charges, supports the decision – despite him not having knowledge of the details of the withdrawal statement.
Farouk said that the decision was also not influenced in any way by Mahsoub, the deputy head, currently in Qatar to avoid a jail sentence for insulting Egypt's judiciary, or the party's second-in-command, Essam Sultan, currently jailed and out of touch with the leadership.