Egypt's Socialist Popular Alliance to 'reconsider' NSF membership

Ahram Online , Sunday 9 Jun 2013

Lack of public support and poor coordination by National Salvation Front are cited as chief reasons for decision by Egypt's Socialist Popular Alliance to reconsider its membership in opposition umbrella group

File photo from a news conference for the National Salvation Front (Photo: AP)

The Socialist Popular Alliance Party published a statement on its Facebook page Sunday announcing that it would "reconsider" its membership in the opposition National Salvation Front (NSF) umbrella group at its upcoming central committee meeting.

"The party's political office decided to suggest the reconsideration" of its membership in the NSF, said the statement, adding that the party's priority was to found a democratic revolutionary bloc to represent society's active forces, from labour unionists, farmers, fishermen and handymen to middle-class pro-democracy and social justice sectors.

The statement listed the reasons behind the party's decision to reconsider membership in Egypt's main opposition bloc.

"Despite our party participating in the founding [of the NSF] last December as a bloc to coordinate between political parties and powers in the constitutional and political files [and] despite ... many hopes, the [NSF] has begun to lose much of the public support gained initially and turned into more of a media phenomena that only reacts and does not represent a convincing alternative," read the statement.

The statement also criticised the lack of a viable decision-making mechanism inside the NSF that includes political powers from Egypt's left and right wings along with former presidential contenders.

"The lack of decision-making mechanisms led some members to take decisions without any coordination ... with the rest of the revolutionary and social protest movements," said the statement.

It went on to note recent examples of this trend, such as suggestions by Conference Party head Amr Moussa to halt labour strikes for one year and a recent meeting by Wafd Party head El-Sayid El-Badawi with leading members of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.

"In the last week, Amr Hamzawy [former liberal MP and leading NSF member] accepted President Mohamed Morsi's invitation to attend a national dialogue session devoted to the Nile crisis, while Amr Moussa met with the Brotherhood's Khairat El-Shater at a supposedly secret meeting," the statement added.

The private meeting between Moussa and El-Shater, deputy chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood, caused a storm of outrage in opposition circles – especially within the NSF – last week.

Moussa later vowed to refrain from acting independently of the opposition bloc until planned 30 June anti-Morsi protests, apologising for any confusion caused by his meeting with El-Shater.

The Socialist Popular Alliance continued to criticise members of the NSF in its statement, adding that the party was surprised to find that the NSF planned to hold its first conference from 24 to 26 June without its prior knowledge.

Last Saturday, the NSF held a press conference at Wafd Party headquarters to announce that all its preconditions for dialogue with the president had been cancelled and that the NSF would participate in mass anti-Morsi protests planned for 30 June.

The NSF's preconditions had been the formation of a national unity government, the appointment of a new prosecutor-general, and the formation of a committee tasked with amending Egypt's new constitution.

The protests on 30 June have been called for by the 'Rebel' campaign, a signature drive aims at gathering 15 million endorsements to "withdraw confidence" from President Morsi.

While the turnout of protesters is expected to be high, with many political forces and remnants of the former regime eager to participate, figures from the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist forces announced they would hold counter rallies.

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