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Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Egypt's secular electoral blocs halved into two after Moussa's withdrawal

The failure of Egypt's former high-profile foreign minister Amr Moussa's attempts to forge an electoral coalition of secular forces led them to fragment into two blocs

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 11 Aug 2014
A woman casts her vote
A woman casts her vote during the first day of the parliamentary run-off elections in Cairo December 5, 2011 (Photo: Reuters)
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Two major secular electoral alliances have been formed in recent days, with the objective of entering the coming parliamentary elections and winning a majority in the new House of Representatives.

This move came after Amr Moussa, Egypt's former high-profile foreign minister and chairman of the 50-member committee which drafted Egypt's new constitution, decided to withdraw from the alliance of the Egyptian Nation, the umbrella grouping of leftist and liberal forces he had hoped would contest parliamentary polls as the country's major secular bloc.

On Sunday, the Wafd, Egypt's oldest political party, and other secular forces decided to team up into one major electoral bloc under called the "Egyptian Wafd" alliance.

According to Amr Al-Shobaki, an Ahram political analyst, "the Egyptian Wafd" alliance would comprise five secular political factions. This includes the Wafd led by businessman, Al-Sayed Al-Badawi, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party led by Mohamed Abul-Ghar, the Reform and Development party led by Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat, the Conservatives Party led by business tycoon Akmal Qortam and the Awareness Party led by chairman of Al-Ahli Sport Club Mahmoud Taher.

In a press conference that was held on Sunday night, Al-Shobaki told journalists that the disruption of Amr Moussa's efforts aimed at bringing all political secular forces into one front made it inevitable for Wafd party to lead these forces, with the hope of gaining a majority in the coming parliament. "Wafd is the oldest party in Egypt and the Arab world and it is the standard-bearer of liberal and secular politics and as a result it is natural for it to lead the way towards unifying the majority of secular forces into one front.

Chairman of the Wafd party told journalists that "the Egyptian Wafd party says welcome to more secular political forces and factions to join it but only under the leadership of Wafd."

Chairmen of the above five political parties plus Al-Ahram political analyst Amr Al-Shobaki and Mostafa Al-Fiqi, a former Hosni Mubarak regime official, decided to set up the alliance's 'presidential council', with the objective of achieving a landslide victory in the coming parliamentary battle.

It was also decided that a technical committee led by former parliamentarian Mostafa Al-Fiqi be formed to draft the Wafd alliance's electoral platform. Another two committees in charge of media and financial affairs have also been formed to support the coalition's electoral campaigns.

Al-Shobaki explained that the electoral platform of the Wafd-led alliance has already been drafted. "It is mainly based on espousing the ideals of the two revolutions of 25 January and 30 June; that is achieving a democratic rule and separating religion from politics," said Al-Shobaki, adding that "it also vows that in case of winning a majority in the coming parliament, the Wafd-led coalition will do its best to implement the new constitution's articles, especially on freedoms, human rights and social equality."

Informed sources said it was also agreed that around 40 percent of the lists of the alliance's candidates will be dominated by Wafd, 30 percent to be assumed by the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and the remaining 30 to be allocated to the other three member political parties.

Moussa's failure to not only led to the Wafd's electoral coalition, but additionally forced other secular forces to form a different coalition, led this time by diehards of the former regime of Hosni Mubarak's defunct ruling National Democratic Party (NDP). The Congress Party, founded two years ago by Moussa to be another liberal political forum, and the 37-year-old leftist Tagammu party, have finally decided this week to team in the "Egyptian Front" electoral alliance. This includes the Misr Baladi party led by former interior minister Ahmed Gamaleddin and the National Movement, founded by Mubarak's last prime minister and 2012 presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq.

The Modern Egypt and Al-Ghad (Tomorrow) parties, led by businessmen Nabil Diibis and Mostafa Moussa respectively, also decided to join the NDP-led coalition. The General Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions (GEFTU), the general syndicate of farmers, and the union of professional syndicates, also announcedtheir decision to join the ranks of the Egyptian Front.

Mostafa Bakri, the coalition's spokesman and editor of the weekly Al-Osbou, strongly denied that the coalition is being led by Mubarak's NDP remnants. Bakri said the coalition will be officially launched in a press conference next week, expecting it to be the main secular force competing the coming parliamentary polls.

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