Egypt's June 30 coalition loses support

Hamdeen Sabahi, a former presidential candidate, is leading a movement to boycott the final stages of the June 30 coalition talks to finalize a road map for Egypt in light of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s newest policies and the acquittal of former President Hosni Mubarak.

al-monitor Presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi delivers a speech in front of his supporters during a rally in central Cairo, May 23, 2014. Photo by REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih.
Walaa Hussein

Walaa Hussein

@walaahuseen

Topics covered

youth movement, road map, mohammed morsi, january 25 revolution, hamdeen sabahi, egypt, april 6 movement, abdel fattah al-sisi

Dec 15, 2014

CAIRO — The former Egyptian presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi is leading a fierce attack against the regime of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Sabahi voiced his opposition to the current security practices against students, the imprisonment of youth political activists and the acts of torture in prisons.

Sabahi declared the formation of a student committee that reflects the political action taking place at many of Egyptian universities, which expresses the pulse and demands of the universities students regarding the rights and freedom in a democratic civil state.

This comes in conjunction with the protests announced by the April 6 Youth Movement that will be holding a rally in the next few days (at the time of publishing the exact date has not yet been announced) that will continue until the anniversary of the January 25 Revolution in protest against the current policies in Egypt. This is in light of Sabahi’s participation in the current wave of protests in Egypt against a ruling issued by the Egyptian judiciary acquitting former President Hosni Mubarak, his two sons and the men of his regime of the charges of which they were accused — these included killing protesters, looting public money and exporting gas to Israel.

Sabahi accused the June 30 Coordination Committee — the coalition that overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi and that joined the Military Council to draw-up the draft Egyptian road map — of handing the revolution back over to Mubarak and his regime.

It is worth mentioning that Sabahi is one of the most important partners in the June 30 Coordination Committee, which is comprised of 35 Egyptian political revolutionary parties and movements.

Sabahi’s Egyptian Popular Current issued a statement following Mubarak’s acquittal that urged its willing members to stage protests and demonstrations. It demanded political and youth forces affiliated to the revolution to reach a united position to address the current events that are attempting to destroy and distort the January 25 Revolution.

This attack and coup against the June 30 Coordination Committee and the current policies of the Egyptian regime were not only orchestrated by the Popular Current but represented a collective position by the Democratic Alliance For Egypt, which includes seven other parties along with the Popular Current. These parties are the Dignity Party, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the Socialist People's Alliance Party, the Justice Party, the Egypt of Freedom Party and the Constitution Party. The majority of these parties threatened to withdraw their support for the road map, which was drafted with the knowledge of the Egyptian Armed Forces on the day of Morsi’s isolation (which started on June 30, 2013). It is worth mentioning that this road map led to the drafting of the current Egyptian Constitution and to the presidential elections won by Sisi.

These parties linked their final decision to withdraw their support for the Egyptian road map to the extent to which their demands were met. During a news conference on Dec. 1, after Mubarak was declared innocent, Hala Shukrallah, president of the Constitution Party, said that for his party, “The decision to withdraw from the road map will be taken based on the outcome of future events and in response to the demands of political parties and forces.” Shukrallah said all means of pressure would be exerted to prevent the return to the Mubarak regime.

These actions led by Sabahi against the current situation in Egypt, and his threat to escalate and withdraw from the completion of the Egyptian road map, made him the object of attack and widespread criticism by the pro-regime media and political circle. These groups accused him of exploiting the acquittal of Mubarak to return to the spotlight by playing on the feelings of youth and calling for the escalation of protests. They also accused him of interfering in the affairs of the Egyptian judiciary by demanding the Sisi government hold retrials.

Ahmed Kamel, spokesman for the Popular Current told Al-Monitor, “Hamdeen Sabahi’s demand for President Sisi to hold a retrial of Mubarak was not out of interference in the affairs of the judiciary, but rather because the current president is the competent legislative authority. This is not to mention that he was the head of military intelligence and has significant evidence and documents relating to several cases that link to Mubarak, whether social, economic or political.” Kamel added, “The president must submit this evidence that will condemn Mubarak.”

He added, “We took our position to refuse to complete the road map within the June 30 Coordination Committee due to a mis-implementation of the measures that have been agreed upon after the toppling of the Brotherhood’s rule,” pointing to the existence of a series of laws and several rules affecting social political rights, in particular the protest law, which were passed by the president.

He said the Popular Current has not yet reached the stage of requesting the ouster of Sisi’s regime, as was the case with Morsi and Mubarak. “Although this regime is making us feel as if we have returned to the worst days under Mubarak's rule, in light of the oppressive and suffocating security measures against rights and freedoms, yet we still try to negotiate and reform,” Kamel said.

The Tamarod movement, an influential partner in the June 30 Coordination Committee, accused Sabahi of conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood in his call for protests against Mubarak's acquittal. Maha Abu Bakr, the official spokesperson of Tamarod, told Al-Monitor that the decision of a number of political forces to withdraw from the road map will not affect or disrupt the progress. Abu Bakr said, “The only thing left to be completed from the road map measures are the parliamentary elections. Therefore, the withdrawal of these groups would make them the losing party by not nominating their candidates to participate in the formation of the Egyptian parliament.”

She added, “The call for protests in light of this difficult period, whether in agreement with the Brotherhood or excluding them but with good intention, does not fall within the scope of the objectives we agreed upon in the June 30 Coordination Committee, which was to work for the country’s best interests regardless of the different views.”

The disputes between the political currents and parties that make up the June 30 Coordination Committee and those who signed the Egyptian road map after the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood's rule are not the first of their kind. Similar disputes broke out ahead of presidential elections in Egypt in 2013, in light of the division over the support for Sisi and Sabahi as candidates for Egypt’s presidency. However, the dispute has never reached this level of escalation or reached the point of threat to withdraw from the road map’s implementation.

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