Liberal parties won't support Shafiq or Morsi; choose to pressure candidates to pledge inclusive govt

Dina Samak , Monday 28 May 2012

Eight Liberal, leftist parties say they cannot support either Shafiq or Morsi for president opting to form a united front for to pressure the two finalists for an inclusive constitution and outstanding revolution demands

Campaign posters supporting presidential candidates Mohammed Morsi and Ahmed Safiq, Cairo Egypt, Monday (Photo: AP/Fredrik Persson)

Eight Egyptian parties on the left side of the political spectrum have decided not to support either of Egypt's two presidential finalists in next month's runoff vote – the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi and last Mubarak-era premier Ahmed Shafiq.

The parties have announced the launch of a "united front" aimed at "protecting the revolution and the civil state," according to the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP)'s Ahmed Fawzi.

A meeting of prospective front members on Monday morning was attended by eliminated presidential contenders Khaled Ali and Amr Mousa.

"Both candidates have voiced their refusal to support either Morsi or Shafiq in next month's runoff vote," Fawzi told Ahram Online. "Other candidates who were invited to the meeting included reformist judge Hisham El-Bastawisy, Abul-Ezz El-Hariri of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party and leftist Hamdeen Sabbahi, the latter of whom came in third place in the first round of voting."

Besides the ESDP, Sunday's meeting was also attended by representatives of the Social Popular Alliance Party, the Free Egyptians party, the Democratic Front, the Socialist Alliance, the Arab Nasserist Party, the liberal Adl Party and the leftist Tagammu Party.

"All parties and candidates who were believed to have endorsed one of the two finalists for the runoff vote were not invited to the meeting," said Fawzi. "The [moderate-Islamist] Wasat Party and [moderate-Islamist] presidential contender Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh have both made it clear that they would not support either candidate."

"Meeting attendees, which included a number of prominent public figures, agreed to work on three parallel tracks: the drafting of a new constitution, outstanding revolutionary demands, and coordination between various political powers," added Fawzi.

The ESDP initially called for Sunday's meeting after it drafted a document, along with other likeminded political forces, laying out demands required of Egypt's incoming president. The document, dubbed the 'Document of the Pledge,' includes written guarantees that Egypt's next president will establish a presidential advisory council, a coalition government, and a constituent assembly – tasked with drafting a new constitution – reflective of all segments of Egyptian society.  

"The front will demand that the constituent assembly include all social segments and political trends in Egypt," said Fawzy. "We will present this demand primarily to the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party (FJP)."

After capturing almost half the seats in parliament in elections late last year, the FJP was widely criticised by its political rivals for its perceived monopolisation of the constitution-drafting process.

According to Fawzi, the 'Document of the Pledge' will be presented to both presidential finalists. Attendees at Sunday's meeting, however, failed to agree whether they would throw their support behind either candidate in the event that one of them endorsed their demands.

"I doubt anyone will be able to openly declare support for Mubarak's man [Shafiq]," Fawzi told Ahram Online following the meeting. "But it's up to the Muslim Brotherhood to endorse our demands; otherwise, we'll call on the people to boycott the runoff."

He added: "New articles have been added to the document, which already includes social-justice issues, along with the people's right to revolt against any president who fails to deliver on revolutionary demands."

The final draft of the document, Fawzi said, would be unveiled in the coming two days.

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