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Egypt's political figures reject El-Omda's initiative

Groups across Egypt's political spectrum denounce a former MP's reconciliation attempt between the Muslim Brotherhood and army

Zeinab El Gundy, Monday 1 Sep 2014
Mohamed El-Omda
Former MP Mohamed El-Omda (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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A wide range of Egyptian political figures and parties have denounced a former Islamist MP's reconciliation attempt to make peace between the government and Muslim Brotherhood and restore democracy to Egypt.
 
In a press conference in his home town of Kom Ombo in Aswan governorate on Sunday, Mohamed El-Omda – fresh out of a year-long stint in jail on charges of instigating violence following Mohamed Morsi's ouster last summer – proposed a seven-part initiative that he said "would save the country".
 
At the heart of the initiative is treating President Abdel-Fattah's term as a transitional period to "reach to an understanding between the army and the Muslim Brotherhood."
 
Other aspects, like amending the constitution and a law banning protests, were mostly ignored in the face of the proposed settlement between the military and the outlawed Islamic movement.
 
"One word: no initiatives," Yahia Hamed, a leading Brotherhood member and former investment minister in Morsi's administration, wrote on his Facebook page on Sunday.
 
The statement from Hamed, who is currently abroad, has been treated as the Brotherhood's official reaction to the initiative – despite the group itself not issuing any statements so far and El-Omda himself insisting that they played no part in the proposal.
 
Hatem Azam, vice chairman of the moderate Islamist Al-Wasat Party, which pulled out of the Brotherhood-led National National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) last week, also took to Facebook on Sunday to reject El-Omda's initiative, describing it as full of contradictions.
 
"How could he not be recognising the coup's legitimacy when he says that the coup's leader (El-Sisi) should be the head of the state for four years, when the freely elected president (Morsi) is in prison?" Azam said.
 
In the press conference on Sunday, El-Omda said he still recognised Morsi as Egypt's legitimate president – but that the current circumstances had forced him to broker a truce between the two factions.
 
Nevertheless, Azam rejected claims that El-Omda is a tool in the hands of the "coup".
 
"Personally I believe the initiative was a politically uncalculated and spontaneous attempt to achieve the national reconciliation we all want," Azam said in his statement.
 
Kamal El-Helbawy, a former leading Brotherhood member and researcher on Islamist groups, described the initiative as unserious.
 
"I do not think that it is a reasonable or serious initiative because if you want to mend (the rift) between the different parties in Egypt, you should not describe what happened on 30 June as a coup after all these changes," El-Helbawy told Ahram Online.
 
Liberal groups were also mostly opposed to El-Omda's initiative.
 
Mohamed El-Nabawy, the official spokesperson of the Tamarod movement which spearheaded the 30 June anti-Morsi protest which led to his ouster, slammed El-Omda's initiative as "unrealistic".
 
"The initiative of Mohamed El-Omda is unrealistic and the Egyptian people won't accept this useless reconciliation because it defends a terrorist group," El-Nabawy said in a TV interview on private satellite channel Dream TV 2 on Sunday night.
 
The Brotherhood was designated a terrorist group last December by the Egyptian government and its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, was formally disbanded by an administrative court ruling this summer.
 
Nabil Zaky, the official spokesperson of the leftist Tagamoa Party rejected the initiative as well. In statements to Youm 7 news website, Zaky said that the public rejected the plan.
 
"The problem is that the Muslim Brotherhood died politically and they cannot return again to the political scene. Any attempt to reconcile with the Brotherhood is just an illusion," Zaky said.
 
El-Omda's initiative is not the first to be proposed following Morsi's ouster in July 2013. Several proposals have been put forward by parties like the Al-Wasat Party and political figures like Hassan Nafaa – none of which achieved consensus, however.
 
El-Omda was released on bail last week after being detained for over a year for allegedly inciting violence in clashes that took place in Giza's Bein El-Sarayat district in July 2013, when 16 people were killed.
 
Leading Brotherhood figures Halmi El-Gazzer and Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Masqoud were detained on the same charges and also released on bail pending further investigations. 
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