The Salafist El-Nour Party will not accept living in the shadow of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) after both swept the first round of Egypt's parliamentary elections, according to its leader.
The FJP emerged the main winner in the first stage of the People Assembly’s elections, clinching 3.5 million votes, while El-Nour Party, which espouses an ultra-conservative brand of Islam, came second with 2.3 million votes.
Reports suggest that El-Nour and FJP, which is widely seen as more moderate, may form an alliance that could enable them to impose Islamic Sharia law.
However, El-Nour leader Emad Abdel-Ghafour played down such speculation, saying his party does not want to become a “follower to any other political force”.
“We hate to become followers because people always say that we are following in the footsteps of the Muslim Brotherhood in our decisions … We have nothing to do with the Brotherhood, we have our own view,” Abdel-Ghafour said in an interview with Reuters Arabic.
“This was clear in the 19 November clashes (between police and protesters in Tahrir) when the Brotherhood decided not to join the demonstrations. We joined and our decision was very useful.
“We don’t rule out the possibility of the Brotherhood trying to marginalise us; we had already noticed that before. They might continue to portray us as the troublemakers.”
However, Abdel-Ghafour said El-Nour had no problems forming wider coalitions in the newly-elected parliament. “If there is an opportunity to form a national unity government we will join,” he added.