Muslim Brotherhood Opponents: Playing Solo
By: Rana Mamdouh
Published Friday, September 21, 2012
As Egypt’s parliamentary elections approach, political forces are forming alliances in order to increase their chances of clawing some power back from the ruling Islamists. The secular movements, however, are struggling to unite.
Cairo - Political parties in Egypt have come to the conclusion that alliances are the only way to approach the parliamentary elections that nobody knows when are due to take place. This is in light of assurances by Muslim Brotherhood supporters that the dissolved People’s Assembly will be reinstated through an imminent court order.
The parties are ignoring the street, its demands, and problems and are preoccupying themselves with elitist parlance. Although most of them agree on the objective of a civil - as opposed to Islamic - state, alliances are of a qualitative nature.
Rather than agreeing on one or two alliances of secular forces to unite against political Islam, these elites are repeating the same mistakes that led to limiting the competition in the first pluralistic presidential elections [held recently] between the “candidate of religion” and the candidate of the former regime.
There are now six coalitions against the expected alliance of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and several Salafi parties for the next parliamentary elections, under the banner of “Islam is the solution.”
The fuloul (remnants of the former regime) and their supporters did not move over for the leftist and liberal supporters of a civil state.
Defeated presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik, who received more than four million votes in the last presidential elections, announced the formation of a new party. The new formation not only includes people connected to the former regime, but also those who are upset about the MB being in control. Its is called the Egyptian National Movement.
Shafik’s announcement came in conjunction with several MPs from the dissolved former ruling party, the National Democratic Party (NDP), announcing an alliance called The People’s Deputies, which includes the fuloul of the NDP and the deposed regime.
The objectives of the NDP deputies’ alliance and Shafik’s party were clear and unencumbered with the political balances preferred by the Left and liberals in Egypt.
The alliance’s media spokesperson Mahmoud Nafady told Al-Akhbar that the former NDP deputies will stand in the next parliamentary elections against the hegemony of the MB in power in Egypt.
“The People’s Deputies Alliance will enter the elections to balance political and parliamentary life in Egypt,” he stressed.
Nafady said that “NDP deputies have been treated unjustly by the people, despite all the services they have given to their districts.”
The alliance, containing 77 of the dissolved NDP MPs, will run against the MB, whether for individual seats or through lists.
Several official parties who supported the former regime have formed new parties, including the Unity Party, which is expected to be announced by the journalist Mustafa Bakri, a supporter of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), in the next few days. There are also the known fuloul parties, such as al-Ghad, headed by Moussa Mostafa Moussa.
Secular forces have been unable to form an alliance, even for specific electoral reasons.
There is the Third Current alliance, which rejects the idea of either a religious or a military state. It was formed by several public figures and more that 16 liberal movements and parties including the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the Free Egyptian Party, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, al-Adl [Justice] Party, al-Jabha [Front] party, al-Karama [Dignity] party, and the Constitution Party.
The Wafd and Ghad al-Thawra parties were not invited into the alliance due to their loyalties to the MB, especially their support of the Constitutional Assembly and their refusal to withdraw along with the remaining secular parties.
Although this third current was able to bring together most of the main components of secular forces around one goal, it did not last for long. It has split into new entities and coalitions, though its dissolution has not been announced yet.
There is also the leftist coalition known as the Democratic Revolutionary Alliance headed by Kamal Khalil and the liberal alliance known as the Egyptian Nation Alliance headed by former head of the Arab League, Amr Moussa.
Then there is the Nasserist Alliance and the Popular Current headed by former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi.
Secular forces in Egypt are still not united under one goal, according to former deputy Mostafa al-Najjar.
“The opposition in Egypt is large and popular. Unfortunately, they are not organized,” he said.
He indicated that “the opposition in Egypt is fragmented, which increases the chances of the MB and other political Islam parties who are organized, coherent, and whose objectives converge.”
“This is also the case with fuloul parties who have one goal and are united in implementing it,” he observed.
Najjar warned the secular forces of the consequences of this fragmentation, saying that “the ball is in their court. If they do not unite in the upcoming elections, they only have themselves to blame.”
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.