13 Parties unite to form 'National Coalition for Egypt'

Yasmine Fathi , Wednesday 15 Jun 2011

A coalition of 13 political parties banded together on Tuesday to run on a single candidate list for Egypt's first post-Mubarak parliamentary elections

political parties
Mohammed Badie, Hamdin Sabahi and Alsayed Elbadawy

The “National Coalition for Egypt,” which was launched yesterday at the headquarters of the Wafd Party, has been created with the aim of establishing a parliament that is representative of all political forces in society and the creation of a national unity government. The member parties include the Muslim Brotherhood’s newly formed Freedom and Justice Party, the Wafd, El Ghad, El Adl, El Tagammu, El Nasserist, El Amal, El Wasat, El Nour, El Karama, El Tawheed El Araby and Masr El Horreya.

In the statement, read by Refaat Said, the head of the Tagammu Party, at a press conference after yesterday’s meeting, the coalition said that they decided to join together in order to help ease the country into a democracy that will implement the values of the January 25 revolution, freedom, justice, democracy and equal citizenship. He added that all parties have agreed to the establishment of a civil state with equal citizenship where rule of law will prevail.

For these reasons, Said noted, the coalition has decided to mobilize various political forces in the country to achieve democracy, economic prosperity and national development for Egypt, beginning with the formation of a new parliament and Shura council and the drafting of a new constitution. The coming period, he noted, is “the most important and crucial period in modern Egyptian history,” cannot be handled by one political force and requires intensive collaboration from different factions of Egyptian society.

The coalition will form a committee to work on creating a new unified law for the parliamentary elections, another to coordinate the upcoming elections set for September and a third to create a manifesto that will include the guidelines to be followed by coalition members. A permanent treasury for the coalition will also created.

El Sayed El Badawy, the head of the Wafd Party, said after the meeting that the coalition extends an invitation to all political parties in the country to join them, adding that the coming period will be difficult and needs everyone to work side by side as a team. He added that the coalition has been working on their manifesto since last March and it has been amended several times since.

On June 11, Mohamed Badie, the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Mohamed Morsy, the head of the Justice and Freedom Party, met with Badawy at the headquarters of the Justice and Peace Party and decided to create a committee for political collaboration between the two parties and agreed that national unity is vital for the stability of Egypt in the coming period. The committee would focus on studying the new parliamentary law created by several members of El Wafd in collaboration with human rights activists including Hafez Abu Saada.

The following day, Badawy announced that El-Wafd and several other political parties have created a unified political program for the upcoming elections and that they had agreed that the proportional representation system should be used in the elections.

The diversity of the first post-Mubarak parliament has been an issue of heated debate in Egypt. Many of political movements have complained that the transitional period is too short and will not give them ample time to prepare for the elections, which will mean that the MB, arguably the most organized group, will dominate the new parliament and consequently the parliamentary 100-member committee that will draft the new constitution.

However, Essam El Erian, vice president of the MB Justice and Freedom Party told the Washington Post on Monday that the coalition will work to create a diverse parliament.

“Now that this coalition exists, it will dictate the electoral outcome,” said Essam el-Erian told the Post. “We want a parliament that represents the entire nation, with all its political tendencies and forces.”

It is believed that coalition members are already at loggerheads over the structure of the transitional period. Several parties including El Nasserist and El Ghad have been calling for the drafting of the constitution before the elections, whereas the Muslim Brotherhood and El Wasat parties are insisting that the constitution should be formed after a new parliament is elected, adding that the 19 March referendum should be respected.

The coalition plans to hold its next meeting on 21 June.

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