CAIRO: The Muslims Brotherhood (MB) and Al-Wafd Party called on Egypt’s political parties to present a unified list in the upcoming parliamentary elections to create the opportunity for equal representation in parliament.
However, despite the joint call, Al-Wafd and the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party have not formed a bilateral agreement in that regard, according to Bahaa Abu Shaqa, Al-Wafd’s vice president.
“[It’s] an agreement to form a front that all political powers would join and form a unified roster in the upcoming legislative elections," Abu Shaqa told Daily News Egypt.
"The aim is to have real and fair representation of all political powers in parliament so that no single group dominates it,” he added.
With elections slated for September, many political parties, especially those formed in the past few months, said they wouldn’t be ready by this date. Political powers said that only the Muslim Brotherhood and former members of the disbanded National Democratic Party had a chance of winning the majority of the seats.
Critics expressed concern about Islamist influence over parliament, which will choose the members of the constituent assembly tasked with drafting the new constitution.
In a recent Gallup poll, 15 percent of the respondents said they would support the Brotherhood. That was the highest number any political entity got on the poll. Ten percent said they would vote for NDP. The majority of respondents said they didn’t support a theocratic state.
The Muslim Brotherhood said they will compete for 40-50 percent of the seats.
Rashad Bayoumi, deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, told Daily News Egypt,
“We want to focus on Egypt’s best interests instead of the individual interests of each political party.”
“We want all the political powers to contribute effectively in the political arena,” he added.
Abou Shaqa said that many political powers are expected to join the initiative in the upcoming days. Political parties said they were still considering the matter.
Head of Al-Ghad Party and presidential hopeful, Ayman Nour, said during a symposium on Sunday that he received an invitation from Al-Wafd and the MB to join a coalition that will compete in the parliamentary elections. He was still considering the issue with party members.
Leading member of the Democratic Front Party, Wael Nawara, told DNE that his party was also discussing the issue along with the coalition of “the Egyptian project” which includes four other parties. Nawara was formerly a member of Al-Ghad.
Mohamed Farag, secretary general of the Tagammu Party, said that the party was yet to receive an official invitation, however he welcomed the initiative.
“This initiative is [beneficial] to Egypt’s future,” Farag said, “Egypt needs a big coalition that includes all political parties to discuss vital matters and make decisions during this transitional period.”
This initiative would only succeed if none of the parties tried to dominate the arena, on the pretext that it was better than the rest, he added.
Amr Hashem Rabei, political analyst specialized in parliamentary affairs at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, agreed, saying that political parties would join the unified list, as long as the Brotherhood wasn’t too arrogant in dealing with them.
It should also be guaranteed that no remnants of the former corrupt regime join the unified list, he added.
On Saturday, Al Wafd agreed with the Freedom and Justice Party to establish a joint committee to discuss important issues especially the voting system in the upcoming parliamentary elections and the debate around the new constitution.
“Al-Wafd is considered the oldest political party in Egypt and the Brotherhood is the oldest movement,” Rabei said, “It’s only natural that they unite their efforts and cooperate together.”
Following the revolution, the MB launched the "Initiative for Egypt," inviting all political powers including Al-Wafd to form a united roster in the elections.
The Brotherhood has previously made alliances with political parties during Egypt’s parliamentary elections. In 1984, it joined forces with Al-Wafd and won 10 seats in the People’s Assembly. In 1987, it won 37 seats in an alliance with the Labor Party. In 2005, it won 88 seats by fielding candidates as independents, to bypass a ban on its activities.