Second party pulls out of Egypt's pro-Morsi alliance

Ahram Online , Wednesday 17 Sep 2014

Al-Watan Party has exited the major support bloc of deposed president Morsi, less than a month since another party left the group

Emad Abdel Ghaffour
El-Watan Party co-founder Emad Abdel Ghaffour (Photo: Reuters)

An Egyptian Salafist party has withdrawn from a grouping supporting deposed president Mohamed Morsi, the second such blow to the Islamist alliance in a month.

Al-Watan Party, a breakaway of Al-Nour Party, Egypt's biggest Salafist group, said Wednesday it had pulled out of the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, citing the need to be part of a broader-based, more pluralist coalition.

The move came only hours after the coalition, which includes Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, said it would undergo restructuring so as to ratchet up support for achieving the goals of the 2011 revolution.

"The alliance has achieved great success in unveiling falsehood and showing the truth that the current regime is establishing tyranny, oppression and injustice towards all the people," read a statement by Al-Watan Wednesday.

The party said, however, that it is now calling for a broader umbrella group running across the whole political spectra, vowing to commit to complete peacefulness in its political activities.

Established early in 2013, El-Watan Party was co-founded by ex-leader of the Nour Party Emad Abdel Ghaffour following internecine fissures over decision-making and leadership.

Salafist Islamists stayed out of the country's political landscape until the 2011 uprising that toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak, after which they became a strong Islamist presence, after the more moderate Muslim Brotherhood.

This is the second blow to the pro-Morsi bloc in less than a month.

In late August, the moderate Islamist Al-Wasat Party exited the coalition, also citing increasing political polarisation and the need to work with all national political forces.

The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, encompassing several Islamist parties, was established in the wake of last year's army ouster of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, protesting the removal of the elected president and calling for his reinstatement.

Since Morsi's ouster, authorities have mounted a sustained crackdown on Islamists in which hundreds were killed in street showdowns and thousands jailed. The clapdown has also included dozens of non-Islamist youth activists, with many being detained or tried for what the government deems illegal protesting.

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