Despite defamation we will remain in parliamentary race: Egypt's Salafist Nour party

Ahram Online , Friday 23 Oct 2015

The first round of voting brought disappointing results for members of the Nour party, who claim that they are suffering from a media smear campaign

Nour party
Younes Makhioun, Head of Nour Party (Photo: Ahram Arabic Gate)

The Salafist Nour party announced on Thursday that it will remain in this year’s parliamentary elections despite disappointing results in the first stage.

In a statement issued Thursday evening following an extended meeting with its higher committee office, the Nour party said that it would continue to run in the parliamentary elections.

"The Nour party has already secured 572,000 votes out of 1,900,000 in the West Delta list. It came in second place after the 'For love of Egypt' list but, unfortunately, all of those votes were in vain due to the unfair electoral system," the Nour Party statement read, slamming the electoral list system currently used in Egypt.

The pro-Sisi "For the love of Egypt" list was the only winner in the list-based seats, securing 60 seats in the first stage of the parliamentary elections in West Delta as well as Giza and Upper Egypt.

"If the proportional electoral list system was adopted in Egypt, the Nour Party would have won nearly one third of the list-based seats in West Delta," said the statement. 

The Nour Party is currently contesting over 23 individual seats in the runoffs of the parliamentary elections that will take place next week.

In the 2011 parliamentary elections, the newly founded Nour Party came in second after the Brotherhood's political wing, winning 22 percent of the seats. 

The Nour party’s decision to remain in the race came after rumors that it would withdraw from the parliamentary elections. 

The statement confirmed that there were members of the Nour Party who believed that it would be better to withdraw. 

"There were two views, the first one was to continue in the elections despite the current lack of justice, integrity, and neutrality, while the second one was to withdraw," the statement revealed, saying the majority of the high committee office in the party chose to continue in the elections. 

"We will remain in the parliamentary elections to continue our mission, which is to reform as much as we can and not to give up despite attempts to exclude us from the political scene," said the statement. 

Officially, the Nour Party is considered the only Islamist party in Egypt to run in the 2015 parliamentary elections. 

The statement also slammed what it considers to be a "systematic" media campaign against the party before and during the elections. 

"Even during the electoral silence period, the campaign was active against the Nour party in nearly all media outlets, including the governmental ones" the party said.

In recent months, non-Islamist political forces have demanded that the Nour party be outlawed, charging that its Islamist program violated stipulations in the 2014 constitution which banned the formation of political parties on religious bases.

The Nour party has responded by arguing that, despite its Islamist perspective, it should not be considered a religious party, citing its inclusion of some Coptic members as proof. 

The party also said that political money and bribes were widely used to buy votes in these elections in a way that had not been seen before.

However, critics of the Nour party charged that the party itself doled out bribes during the campaign to buy votes.

The Salafist Party also denounced what it called "harassment" against its members by security forces, adding that such practices remind people of the elections before the 25 January revolution.

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