Egypt's Watan Party spearheads fresh reconciliation intitiative

Ahram Online , Wednesday 26 Jun 2013

The Salafist party, an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, launches initiative to end polarisation and forestall planned anti-government protests

Emad Abdel-Ghafour
Emad Abdel-Ghafour (Photo: Ahram)

Egypt's Salafist Watan Party has spearheaded a new national reconciliation initiative aimed at reuniting polarised political forces, as Egypt braces for what some forecast to be a second revolution later this month.

The move, which comes a few days in advance of the mass anti-government protests scheduled for 30 June, aims to tackle the country's “worsening” economic and social malaise.

Nine political parties, mostly Islamists, along with some twelve Islamist-leaning movements, have thrown their weight behind the initiative. These include the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya's Building and Development Party.

Among a list of key demands, the initiative calls for forming a national-unity government, a popular committee to ensure transparency of elections, as well as another body tasked with constitutional amendments.

The Watan Party, a close ally of President Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, has extended an invitation to figures from across the country's political and economic spectrum to attend its opening press conference. The convention, which will be held at Al-Azhar University next Saturday, will assess the country's economic situation and future outlooks.

Egypt's imploding economy and plummeting tourism were among the motives behind the party's reconciliatory move, ills it partially attributed to frequent protests, a lengthy transitional period, “instigators of chaos,” and lack of confidence in the credibility of upcoming parliamentary elections.

Egypt's political landscape is polarised between backers of President Moahmed Morsi and his opponents, who accuse him of failing to fulfill promised reforms and marginalising the opposition.

While Morsi's opponents plan to take to the streets on 30 June with the ultimate goal of toppling his regime, his Islamist backers plan to stage an open-ended sit-in two days earlier to support his "legitimacy."

While asserting “political differences” is a legitimate right, the party warned the country "is on the brink of economic collapse."

"The public is not concerned about a government or cabinet reshuffle or constitutional amendments, as much as they are to have better living conditions…" read a statement by the party on Wednesday.

Among the nine major aims of the move are: setting a three-year roadmap to resolve Egypt's deepening economic issues, as well as agreeing on a “political truce,” shelving calls for mass protests.

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