Egypt's Brotherhood, Salafists Differ Over Cooperation With Liberals

Ahead of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party is carefully evaluating alliances with other parties, while some potential Islamist allies reject any connection with secularists and liberals.

al-monitor Supporters of Salafist leader and former presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail and other political parties attend Friday prayers front of army soldiers as they close the road to Abbasiya square near Egypt's Defense Ministry in Cairo May 4, 2012. Photo by REUTERS/Amr Dalsh.

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egyptian parliament, egyptian muslim brotherhood, egyptian elections, al-nour party, al-nour

Oct 31, 2012

Muslim Brotherhood leaders have taken different positions regarding forging alliances with both liberal and Islamic forces. For its part, the Salafist Al-Nour Party said that in order for it to forge an alliance with the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party, no liberal forces must join them on the same electoral list.

Mohammed Abdullah Sayyaf, a member of the Brotherhood's Shura Council, said that the party will compete for all parliamentary seats, and that its leaders had started preparing its electoral lists.

Sayyaf told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the group is unlikely to forge alliances with those he described as "liberals," or even seek to attract Islamic movements to one list to face liberal movements such as the Egyptian Popular Current or the Constitution Party.

Sayyaf said the group is considering coordination with the political forces individually, in different constituencies in the electoral run-off, in case there is a mutual desire for cooperation between the two parties.

The Shura Council member criticized head of the Constitution Party Mohamed ElBaradei's refusal to meet with Mohamed Saad Katatni, head of the Freedom and Justice party. Saayaf said ElBaradei does not represent all political forces and that his group will open expanded discussions with the parties in order to end the existing state of polarization.

In contrast, Ali Abdel Fattah, a Freedom and Justice Party leader who is responsible for coordination with other parties, revealed that the party is considering an alliance with the Salafist Al-Nour Party in order to face the liberal blocs, saying that the relationship between the leadership of the parties was strong, and that there was a mutual desire to forge an alliance in the elections.

For his part, Younis Makhyoun, a member of the Al-Nour Party’s Supreme Committee, said that his party was considering an alliance with the Freedom and Justice Party, on the condition that the group does not align with liberal parties.

He said the Al-Nour Party “will not fight the election with secular forces,” pointing out that the party has formed a committee headed by Vice President Sayed Mustafa in order to select lists of candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections based on the standards of reputation and political culture.

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