Egypt's Salafist Nour Party elects new leader

Ahram Online, Wednesday 9 Jan 2013

Younes Makhioun becomes new head of Egypt's most formidable Salafist party in uncontested party election on Wednesday

Youssef Makhion
Chariman of Salafist Al-Nour Party Youssef Makhion (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt's Salafist Nour Party on Wednesday chose Younes Makhioun as its chairman in an internal party election.

Makhioun, who won the election uncontested, is a former member of the now-dissolved People's Assembly and member of the Nour Party's supreme committee.

"We will do what it takes to establish a country based on justice following decades of injustice," Makhioun declared following the announcement of his electoral victory in Cairo's Nasr City district. "And there is no justice without Islam."

Six other Nour Party members had initially planned to contest the position, but all of them eventually announced their withdrawal from the race.

Following his victory, Makhioun promised party members that he would closely cooperate with them, adding that the party's younger cadres could expect to play a larger role in party decisions and activities.

Regarding looming parliamentary elections, the newly elected chairman described the upcoming polls as "crucial," stressing that the incoming House of Representatives (the lower house of Egypt's parliament, formerly known as the People's Assembly) would represent "a revolutionary parliament."

"Through the incoming assembly, we will work on amending all legislation that conflicts with Islamic Law," added Makhioun.

The event resounded with slogans in support of Islamic Law, with dozens of attendees chanting "Islam is the solution" and "Makhioun, God is with you and the sons of Al-Nour are behind you."

Also speaking at the event was prominent party spokesman Nader Bakkar, who described the current phase of Egypt's history as a "defining moment."

"God has seen to it that the Nour Party plays a part in the writing of this history," added Bakkar, who took the podium to recount the history of both the Nour Party and the Salafist Calling movement from which it sprung.

Bakkar reminded attendees that the party was the second to be licensed following Egypt's 25 January 2011 revolution, pointing out that the party now boasted more than one hundred thousand members.

He went on to praise the party's achievement in 2011 parliamentary polls in which it captured roughly 25 per cent of the seats in the lower house.

The Nour Party was previously led by Emad Abdel-Ghafour, who, before his resignation, had represented the party's 'reformist' camp.

Abdel-Ghafour quit the party in late December after a dispute with followers of influential cleric and Salafist Calling founder Yasser El-Borhami.

Abdel-Ghafour currently heads up the newly-formed Salafist Al-Watan Party.

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