Salafist Nour Party head confirms rift with Brotherhood

Ahram Online, Saturday 12 Jan 2013

Salafist Nour Party chairman Younes Makhioun confirms ideological disagreements with Muslim Brotherhood, but does not hold them responsible for internal splits

Younes Makhioun, the new Nour Party chairman (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Newly appointed Salafist Nour Party chairman, Younes Makhioun, has confirmed the party is in disagreement with the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), saying an electoral alliance between the two is unlikely.

"There is a tense relationship with the Brotherhood and our programmes and views on managing the state are different," Makhioun, who won an uncontested election on Wednesday to become the party's new leader, told Al-Ahram's Arabic website.

"It would be too hard to share one [electoral] list. It is in both sides' best interests to take part in the parliamentary elections on its own," he added.

While speaking to Ahram Online a few days earlier, a Nour Party spokesperson revealed the party was aiming to contest 100 per cent of parliamentary seats in the polls that shall be held within a few months.

He also said the party, which is the political wing of the Salafist Call, was mulling a possible electoral alliance with several Islamist forces ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections, including with the Watan (homeland) Party, which was newly founded and joined by breakaway members of the Nour Party.

Nour was dealt a blow by the resignation of 150 members in December, including former chairman Emad El-Din Abdel-Ghafour (Makhioun's predecessor) who later launched the Watan Party.

While media reports cited a conflict between Abdel-Ghafour and followers of cleric Yasser El-Borhami – one of the founders of the Salafist Call – as a reason for the split, other reports suggested the Brotherhood had pulled strings to instigate cracks within Nour.

Makhioun, however, has played down both claims.

"The Nour Party is managerially separate from the Salafist Call (the movement that formed the party in 2011)," he said when asked about the influence of the group on its political wing.

"The Call only represents the party’s frame of reference. The Call is also established in accordance to the laws of the Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs, so it is not allowed to practice political activity."

On the Brotherhood's role in the Nour Party split, Makhioun commented: "Islam taught us not to accuse anyone without evidence, and this allegation has no proof."

Nour spokesman Nader Bakkar was recently quoted by Britain's Financial Times as saying the Brotherhood indeed had a hand in the party's splits.

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