Algerian Brotherhood leader defects to start new party

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Saturday, July 28, 2012

A leading figure in the Algerian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood defected to start a new party on Saturday.

Former minister Omar Ghoul, a leading figure in the Movement of Society for Peace (MSP) — the representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood in the country — said he would establish a new party in the coming days.

Ghoul is one of the most prominent faces in Algerian politics and is well-known for his decision as the former head of the Ministry of Public Works to build a 120-kilometer long highway linking east and west Algeria, which cost around $11 billion.

He announced his decision after he and several members of the party's national office officially resigned, and spoke of his desire to found a new party which comprises the three movements (Islamist, democratic and national) that dominate Algerian politics.

The president of the MSP Bouguerra Soltani confirmed Ghoul's resignation from his party, but said that “the movement is broader than people.”

In his first statement after his decision to resign, Ghoul told newspaper Sawt al Ahrar (Voice of the Free Algerian) on Saturday that his decision to found a new party is “irreversible” and that “it is not important to me what Soltani or anyone else has to say about it.”

He said, “the time to talk about the Movement of Society for Peace has passed” and went as far as saying that the party was finished.

Speaking about the new party, Ghoul said: “We decided to change the party line based on the experience we have gained in the last few years,” adding that it would not be an explicitly Islamic movement.

He said that his party would include groups from across the political spectrum.

Members of Ghoul's entourage said the new party will follow the example of Turkey's AK party which moved away from the Islamism of its former leader Necmettin Erbakan and has dominated power for the past decade.

Algeria is a partial democracy, with a working parliament and presidential elections, but has many of the characteristics of an autocracy.

(UPI, Al-Akhbar)

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