Egypt Opposition Faces New Challenges

Article Summary
Divisions are growing in the National Salvation Front, a bloc of opposition parties in Egypt, over the Wafd and Conference aarties, writes Gharib Damati.

Indications of a crisis within the Egyptian opposition National Salvation Front (NSF) have begun to loom on the horizon, after a number of youth members affiliated to the coalition parties and movements, particularly the Popular Current, have objected the membership of the Wafd and Conference parties.

This objection has pushed the Wafd Party to call on its supreme body to hold a meeting on Friday [Jan. 18] to discuss the repeated media statements of some of the Front’s leaders, in which they have emphasized that some of the parties and movements’ youth members have rejected the presence of the party within the NSF. Abdullah Maghazi, spokesman for the Wafd Party, said that these movements have forgotten that without the Wafd Party, popularly known as the “House of the Nation,” the NSF could not have been established with such momentum. He added that the Wafd Party’s leaders have tried to overcome and draw attention to this fact more than once in the NSF’s meetings. Fouad Badrawi, Secretary General of the Wafd Party, said that the party takes its positions without the guidance of others, and that the assessment of its political position is determined by its leaders and members, not by other political parties and movements’ youth members. He declared that the party is committed to its presence in the National Salvation Front.

The indicators of the crisis have emerged after a number of the Popular Current’s leaders demanded the end of the Wafd and Conference parties’ membership of the NSF, citing particular concerns that the parties would put forward individuals affiliated with the former regime and the dissolved National Democratic Party to run in elections as NSF list candidates.

Meanwhile, Hamdeen Sabahi, the founder of the Popular Current, has sought to settle the crisis. He suggested that there should be two lists of parliamentary candidates in some constituencies where the crisis persisted. The first would consist of the Wafd Party, the Conference Party and the Liberal Egyptian Party, whereas the second would include the Arab Democratic Nasserist Party, the Egyptian Popular Current, the Egyptian Democratic Party and the Socialist People's Alliance Party. Azazi Ali Azazi, member of the Egyptian Popular Current’s secretariat, has confirmed, however, that the NSF welcomes the presence of the two parties in the Front and explained that the idea of issuing two electoral lists was designed to maximise the NSF’s share of seats in the same constituency. At the same time, he added that the Wafd Party had been a significant contributor in the establishment of the NSF and that its departure would divide and be detrimental to the Front.  

Found in: wafd party, elbaradei, egyptian opposition

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