Disputes in National Salvation Front emerge ahead of elections

Ahram Online , Thursday 18 Jul 2013

With the Wafd Party stating that the NSF should disband, and socialist parties reconsidering ties to rightist currents, the umbrella group likely faces a rocky future as electoral jockeying begins

Members of the National Salvation Front at a press conference in January (Photo: Facebook)

Egypt's National Salvation Front (NSF) postponed a meeting Thursday that was scheduled to take place at the Wafd Party headquarters, after the Wafd asserted in a statement that the NSF should cease its activities.

The NSF, the main Egyptian opposition umbrella established in November 2012, was due to hold the meeting to fill vacant positions in its high board.

While the Wafd Party denied Wednesday rumours of withdrawing from the NSF, Wafd Party spokesman Abdallah El-Moghazy stated that the NSF should be dismantled after "it has achieved its goals, especially that the NSF consists of various political parties different in their political ideologies and programmes."

El--Moghazy went on to explain that the dismantling should be done to preserve the historical role of the NSF after the January 25 Revolution. He said the party would present its vision of ceasing the activities of the NSF in a general meeting Sunday at the Wafd HQ — the same meeting scheduled to elect a new NSF secretary general and general coordinator.

On Sunday, Wafd Party President El-Sayed El-Badawi was chosen along with leftist Popular Current head Hamdeen Sabbahi, and Lawyers Syndicate leader Sameh Ashour, to negotiate with the newly appointed interim government. The trio is to open dialogue channels with the transitional government and presidency to foster cooperation and understanding.

The posts of the NSF general coordinator and secretary general previously belonged to Mohamed ElBaradei and Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour respectively. ElBaradei is now vice president for foreign affairs, while Abdel Nour is minister of industry.

The NSF might face potential disputes ahead of the next parliamentary elections as leftist parties in the coalition do not approve of the social and political agendas of some of right-wing parties under the NSF umbrella, such as the Wafd Party.

MENA reported January that the youth of the Wafd Party in different Egyptian governorates objected to their party joining the NSF and running on the same electoral list as the leftist Popular Current led by Sabbahi, and the Socialist Alliance. Youth members of the Wafd Party at the time called on party head El-Badawi to only partner with political parties whose political ideologies were in line with that of the Wafd.

Egypt's socialist Popular Alliance in June was said to be reconsidering its membership in the NSF. One of the reasons given was suggestions by Conference Party head Amr Moussa — a prominent NSF member — to halt labour strikes for one year.

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