NDP Offshoots

Egyptian Eelections Watch (Ahram Online and Jadaliyya) , Friday 18 Nov 2011

NDP building (Photo: Reuters)

The National Democratic Party (NDP) of ousted President Hosni Mubarak was dissolved on 16 April 2011 by the Supreme Administrative Court’s order.

Since then, former NDP officials have established what are generally considered as offshoots of the disbanded party. Six such parties have been formed so far and at least four more are being planned. While there were court cases challenging the candidacy of individuals formerly affiliated with the NDP in the upcoming elections, a court decision announced on 15 November upheld the right of these individuals to run for office.

NDP offshoots are typically pro-business, believe in decentralized government, and profess support for basic freedoms, especially the freedom of speech and assembly.

Freedom Party (Hizb al-Horreya)

The Freedom Party was founded on 17 July 2011 and is led by party chair Mamdouh Hassan and secretary general Moataz Hassan, who are brothers. Their father, Mohammad Mahmoud Ali Hassan, is a construction magnate who used to chair the Housing Committee of the parliament’s lower house.

The official political parties’ registration committee initially rejected the Freedom Party’s application for a license, but a court order later reversed that decision and granted the party legal status. The Freedom Party claims about 15,000 members who are mostly from the Upper Egyptian governorates of Qena and Luxor. The party is fielding more than 500 candidates in the upcoming legislative elections.

Egyptian Citizen Party (Hizb al-Mowaten al-Masri)

Led by construction magnate Alaa Hasaballah, the Egyptian Citizen Party was founded on 31 July 2011. Among its 15,000 members, the party has several former NDP officials and ministers, including Mohamed Ragab, who briefly served as the NDP’s general secretary after the 25 January Revolution.  According to Hasaballah, the party is fielding more than 450 candidates in the upcoming elections.

National Party of Egypt (Hizb Masr al-Qawmi)

The National Party of Egypt was founded on 17 August 2011 by  the late Talaat Al-Sadat, nephew of the late president Anwar Al-Sadat and a former People's Assembly member. Al-Sadat, who passed away on 21 November 2011, served as the NDP’s leader for a few days before the party was disbanded on 16 April 2011.  The party's 10,000 members include former NDP officials from Menoufiya (the birthplace of Al-Sadat’s family) and Daqahliya. Tawfik Okasha, another influential member, is a famous TV show presenter and owner of the private television channel Faraeen (Pharaohs), which was closely tied to the former regime. The National Egypt Party fielded candidates in most of Egypt’s Nile-delta governorates.

Modern Egypt Party (Hizb Masr al-Haditha)

The Modern Egypt Party was formed on 3 July 2011. Its founder, Nabil Dibis, is a former member of the defunct NDP and owner of Modern Egypt, a private university. Walid Dibis, Nabil’s son, is the owner of the Modern Egypt  television channels, which were closely associated with the former regime. The Dibis family used to be a major sponsor of the NDP’s weekly newspaper Al-Watani Al-Youm (The NDP Today). According to Dibis, the party has more than 15,000 members and is fielding candidates in seventeen governorates in the 2011/2012 parliamentary elections.

Union Party (Hizb al-Ittihad)

The Union Party was founded on 18 September 2011. Hossam Badrawi, the party’s founder, briefly served as secretary-general of the NDP in the last days of Mubarak’s rule. Badrawi was perceived by some as a reformist, despite his close ties to Gamal Mubarak. He left the NDP just one day before Mubarak resigned on 11 February 2011. The party claims 15,000 members and is fielding 500 candidates in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Badrawi said that he has no plans to run for office.

Beginning Party (Hizb al-Bedaya)

The Beginning Party was founded on 3 August 2011 and many of its 6,000 members are former affiliates of the dismantled NDP. Mahmoud Hossameddin Galal, the party’s founder, is a prominent businessman. The Beginning Party’s founding members are said to include Egyptians living abroad. Many individuals challenged the party’s initial bid for a license on grounds that its founding members include NDP leaders.

A number of other newly founded parties tied to ex-NDP elements have been announced, but their applications for an official license are still pending. These parties include:

Conservatives Party (Hizb al-Mohafizin)

The Conservatives Party’s founder, Akmal Qortam, ran as an NDP candidate in the Cairo district of Maadi in the 2010 parliamentary elections, which were marred with widespread fraud and violence. Qortam is owner of Sahara, a major oil exploration company. Qortam announced that the party plans to contest sixty percent of the seats in parliament in the upcoming elections, and hopes to win forty to fifty seats.

Egypt Development Party (Hizb Masr al-Tanmiya)

Egypt Development Party founder Youmna al-Hamaki served as a member of the parliament’s lower house. Al-Hamaki was a member of the NDP’s Policies Committee. She is a professor of economics at Cairo University.

Egypt Revival Party (Hizb Masr al-Nahda)

The former NDP’s prominent businessman Hossam Badrawi, who founded the Ittihad party, is the main backer of the Egypt Revival Party. The Egypt Revival Party mainly draws its membership from young former NDP members.

Egypt Renaissance Party (Hizb Nahdet Masr)

The Egypt Renaissance Party was founded by Ahmed Abul-Nazar, a prominent businessman. Abul-Nazar was an NDP candidate in the 2010 parliamentary elections in the Alexandria district of Al-Raml. Most of the party's members are former NDP officials from Alexandria.

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