Amr Moussa's Egypt electoral alliance collapses

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 4 Aug 2014

Longtime Egyptian politician blames political parties 'narrow mindedness' for alliance's failure ahead of upcoming parliamentary polls

Amr Moussa
Amr Moussa (Photo: Ahram)

Amr Moussa, former foreign minister and chairman of the 50-member committee which drafted Egypt's new constitution in January, announced on Monday that his two-month-long efforts to found a national political alliance capable of winning a majority in Egypt's coming parliament have reached a deadlock.

According to Moussa's spokesman Ahmed Kamel, Moussa decided to withdraw from the Alliance of the Egyptian Nation – a bloc he tried to form last month among a group of leftist and liberal forces with hopes of gaining a majority in the new House of Representatives, Egypt's lower house parliament.

The bloc was primarily designed to include the liberal Wafd Party, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and the leftist Tagammu party.

Kamel indicated that the failure of political parties and factions to put the national concerns of Egypt above their own narrow-minded interests has left the proposed alliance in limbo.

"I think a number of difficulties, sensitivities, narrow-minded maneuvers and attempts to exclude other factions are still there [and] preventing the reaching of a final decision on the Alliance of the Egyptian Nation," Moussa's spokesman said in a public statement on Monday.

According to Kamel, Moussa told political parties and factions that he would not attend any more meetings for the alliance.

"A high-level meeting that was planned to be held by the alliance this week must be postponed until political forces think again and review their positions about this national issue," said Moussa.

Informed sources said the rejection by the Wafd Party's leading officials on 22 July to join Moussa's proposed bloc dealt a deafening blow to the alliance.

Head of the Wafd Party Al-Sayed Al-Badawi said the party's leading officials insisted that the alliance be named "Wafd's Alliance" and that diehards of former president Hosni Mubarak's defunct ruling National Democratic Party's be excluded from it. Wafd officials also demanded that their party's candidates be given top priority on the alliance's electoral lists.

To make matters worse, the Free Egyptian Party, founded by business tycoon Naguib Sawiris, also opted to withdraw from Moussa's alliance and run on its own.

A meeting including Al-Badawi and Sawiris was planned this week in a bid to find common ground between the two major liberal forces.

Sources said that while Moussa agreed that Mubarak's NDP's diehards be excluded from the alliance, he was not able to convince the Wafd Party and the Free Egyptians Party to not impose pre-conditions for remaining in the alliance.

In his public statement on Monday, Moussa proposed revoking the Alliance of the Egyptian Nation in favour of forming a "neutral committee" including representatives of political forces and factions, and to embark upon holding talks among themselves on the necessity of creating a healthy political atmosphere and preparing well for competitive parliamentary elections.

Kamel explained that once Egypt's new constitution was ratified in January, Moussa tried his best to form a wide-scale national alliance aimed at winning a majority in the coming parliament.

"Moussa moved in this direction because he saw that parliamentary elections … require a solid coordination among all secular forces in the face of other[s] which do not believe in Egypt having a civilian political system," said Kamel.

In fact, argued Kamel, Moussa was trying his best to implement article 5 of the new constitution, which states that a peaceful rotation of power and a multi-party system form the basis of Egypt's political life.

To meet these two objectives, said Kamel, Moussa believed that political factions should relinquish their old divisions and move towards creating a national alliance capable of successfully implementing the third part of the transitional roadmap after Mohamed Morsi's ouster last summer.

Kamel also indicated that Moussa decided not to run in the coming parliamentary elections.

Moussa said he "could have second thoughts on this issue", but only if "a national alliance was formed to contest parliamentary elections as one major political bloc seeking to implement the new constitution's articles on freedoms and rights and forming a civilian government."

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