Hundreds gathered at the press syndicate on Tuesday to attend the debut of a new Egyptian political coalition, the National Front for Justice and Democracy, which aims to “defend the demands of the revolution.”
The first spokesperson representing the front, Mohamed Waked, explained that there were seven main goals towards which the front will be working:
Establishing and protecting democracy
Pushing for social equality and justice
Influencing Egypt’s internal policies
Pushing for an independent foreign policy
Influencing the outcome of the coming elections
Achieving security and stability by restructuring, not re-establishing, the previous police structure
The conference hall was packed with people of all ages. More significantly, the audience seemed to represent people from different social backgrounds and political affiliations. This diversity was pointed out by Waked as he explained that the aim of the front is to gather people from different affiliations that have contributed to the revolution and want to defend its demands.
“Most of those who participated in the revolution were not necessarily politically organised. There was a need for a medium through which we could be represented.”
Although two of the speakers on stage were politically affiliated, the two others were independent. Mohamed Waked and Rabab El-Mahdy are known to be affiliated with a socialist party, while the other two speakers, Ahmed Nawar and Mohamed Salah are not known to belong to a specific group or party.
American University professor, Rabab Mahdy, who was the second to speak on stage, explained that the front would have four committees: media, administrative, fieldwork and political analysis.
She stressed that the front does not accept any funding, neither from donor agencies, commercial companies or political organisations.
For the remainder of the conference the floor was opened for attendees to ask the four panellists questions. The attendees brought up several issues, including the de facto presence of state security, despite its alleged dismantling; the strength of the counter-revolution and how it can be fought; means of fighting the law against protests and strikes and how to bring to justice corrupt institutions and persons.
The public seemed to generally agree that the revolution had not yet achieved most of what it stood for and that much is left to be done that the front needs to work on.
Membership forms were provided, however, the coordinators of the conference found that they had underestimated the number of people that would attend and wish to join, leaving many looking for the forms and a place to sit, or even stand.
The National Front for Justice and Democracy was first mentioned during Egypt’s constitutional referendum in mid-March. The Front campaigned for a “No,” saying that the amendments “betrayed the spirit of the revolution.” The Front was first publicised for by actor Amr Waked, one of its founding members, on his popular Twitter and Facebook accounts.