Egypt’s Socialist Popular Alliance Party will participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections, expected to take place by the end of this year, central committee member Wael Tawfik told Ahram Online.
The decision to participate was the result of a vote during a meeting of the party’s central committee on Friday evening.
The party had announced in February that it would not participate in the upcoming elections, in protest at the killing of member Shaimaa El-Sabagh, who was shot dead by a police officer at a peaceful march a month earlier.
In June 2015, a Cairo court sentenced the officer responsible to 15 years in prison.
Tawfik told Ahram Online that 75 percent of the members voted for participation in the upcoming elections while 25 percent voted against.
According to Tawfik, an open debate took place in the meeting prior to the vote.
“We have two major viewpoints. One that saw our participation as crucial, so we can introduce our political programme to the Egyptian people and actually have a say in what’s happening inside the parliament."
Tawfik added that "the minority faction preferred to boycott and create an ‘electoral awareness committee’ instead, in order to speak directly to the public in the streets about ‘freedom violations’ being committed by the government.”
He argued that the results of the vote do not imply a division inside the party as all involved in the voting process still agreed that their stance towards the government remains one of opposition.
Moataz El-Shenawy, the secretary-general of the party, affirmed Tawfik’s statements regarding the party’s oppositional stance towards the current government.
“We are participating to continue on the transitional roadmap that we called for on 30 June 30," El-Shenawy told Ahram Online.
The party has not announced yet exactly how it will participate in the elections, which will feature both individual constituencies and constituencies contested by different party lists.
However, Tawfik believes that members will lean towards contesting via the list constituencies.
“I feel like we’ll be moving towards the electoral list more as I believe we’re more powerful in that aspect. However, there has to be a filtration in order to make sure that we are in lists with people who share the same oppositional view as the alliance,” Tawfik added.
The decision on whether to run for the individual seats or the list seats is yet to be put to a vote, Tawfik said.
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said in July that the elections will be held before the end of the current year, and has finished ratifying required amendments to electoral laws. No precise schedule for the polls has yet been announced.
The Socialist Popular Alliance Party was formed in October 2011.