Salafist leader blasts NSF-Nour Party plan to resolve Egypt's political crisis

Ahram Online, Thursday 31 Jan 2013

Vice-president of Egypt's newest Salafist party condemns new initiative - ostensibly aimed at resolving ongoing political impasse - tabled by Salafist Nour Party and National Salvation Front

The meeting between members of Nour party and NSF members (Photo: Ahram Arabic news website)

Youssry Hammad, vice-president of the new Salafist Watan Party, criticised a new political initiative launched by the Nour Party – Egypt's largest Salafist party – which was also endorsed by the National Salvation Front (NSF), an opposition umbrella group consisting of mostly secular parties and movements.

The initiative, announced on Tuesday by the Nour Party, included eight conditions for ending Egypt's current political crisis.

"If political parties want to propose initiatives or issue demands, they must do so within the legal and constitutional framework of the state and respect the will of the people," Hammad declared on Facebook on Thursday.

He added that "those who want to spread chaos in the country" should "not be given any legitimacy."

Hammad's statements came in reaction to one of the demands included in the initiative, namely, the establishment of "consensus" between all parties in order to lead the country with the ostensible aim of preventing a single political faction from monopolising political life.

"Those demanding the amendment or abrogation of the new constitution have to wait for the incoming House of Representatives [the lower, legislative house of Egypt's parliament, formerly known as the People's Assembly], as stated in the constitution," Hammad stressed. "Amendments should serve the country and not a particular political ideology."

In the above statements, Hammad was referring to the initiative's demand to form a committee tasked with amending controversial articles of Egypt's new national charter, which was approved last month via popular referendum.

He also criticised opposition forces – namely the NSF – for proposing a coalition government, challenging them to "name the new cabinet and come clean with their hidden agenda and state what they would provide to the country." He went on to describe the NSF as "those who would demand change without having a real vision for the future."

"Those calling for the dismissal of the current government must offer satisfactory alternatives," he said.

He also criticised the initiative's demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Hisham Qandil's cabinet and the formation of a government of so-called 'national salvation.'

The Watan Party VP also blamed the opposition for "legitimising terrorism and violence" in the streets of Egypt, despite the fact that the new initiative supposedly rejects all forms of violence and vandalism.

"We are waiting for the security forces to hold thugs responsible and those who are spreading violence in the streets," he said.

He added that judicial officials were helping security forces by issuing speedy court rulings against anyone found guilty of violence.

The new initiative also requests the formation of a judicial committee to investigate the recent round of violence.

Hammad went on to state that whoever demanded the dismissal of Egypt's new prosecutor-general – another demand listed in the initiative – had to refer back to the constitution and prove that he had committed professional or ethical breaches.

On Wednesday, the NSF and the Nour Party agreed on a unified initiative, the main condition of which is the formation of a unity government in which opposition groups are represented.

On Monday, the NSF rejected an invitation by President Mohamed Morsi to hold talks aimed at resolving the current political crisis.

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