Brotherhood Approaches Salafists as Parliament Elections Near

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The two main blocs contesting Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary elections — Islamists led by the Muslim Brotherhood and secularists led by the National Salvation Front — are setting their electoral lists.

The race between Islamic and liberal forces has ignited in the runup to the Egyptian parliamentary elections. The Muslim Brotherhood has begun to coordinate with Islamist movements and “clear constituencies” in exchange for their endorsement so that it might win a majority of seats. The National Salvation Front announced that it would run in the elections with two separate lists and form a parallel government in preparation for winning a majority.

Sources within the Brotherhood said that a meeting of the group leaders was held yesterday [Jan. 7] at the home of Khairat El-Shater, deputy supreme guide of the group. In the meeting, which was attended by the head of the Freedom and Justice Party, Saad Katatni, Shater was entrusted to negotiate with Salafist leaders to leave some constituencies in order to confront the liberal forces. Katanti and Mohamed Beltagy, a leader of the Brotherhood, were commissioned to consult al-Wasat Party and the Youth of the Revolution to coordinate regarding some constituencies. The sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm that following his meeting with Mohammed Badie, a leader of the group, Shater decided to relinquish some constituencies to the group's allies, most notably Abou Elela Mady, president of al-Wasat Party, and Essam Sultan, its vice president. He also decided to negotiate with Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, a Salafist leader, on withdrawing from the constituencies of El-Dokki — if he decides to run for the elections — and on leaving some constituencies to the Free Nation Coalition in exchange for its support in other districts.

The sources noted that the Brotherhood almost came to an agreement with Hossam Ghiryani, head of the constituent assembly in charge of drafting the constitution, to include his name on the Freedom and Justice Party’s electoral list. Sources pointed out that Katani will hold the post of prime minister if the Islamists win a majority.

In contrast, Al-Masry Al-Youm learned that the Salvation Front tends to run in the elections with two separate lists that compete in all constituencies. The first list includes al-Wafd Party, the Egyptian Democratic Party and the Free Egyptians Party, while the second consists of the Popular Current, the Popular Alliance, the Dignity and the Nasserist Parties. The Front’s parties have coordinated for individual seats and decided to form a shadow government in preparation for forming a real government if the Front wins a majority.

Sources from the Front’s leadership revealed that the recent meeting the day before yesterday [Jan. 6] witnessed heated discussions after Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the Constitution Party, submitted the results of his meeting with Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, head of the Strong Egypt Party, and Amr Khaled, head of Egypt’s Future Party.

The sources noted that while participants unanimously rejected Fotouh joining the Front, they welcomed Khaled.

Mohammad Sami, head of the Dignity Party, said that the Front is preparing to establish six quality committees and offices in the provinces, along with the party’s secretariats, in preparation to win a large number of seats.

The election commission ended the candidates lists and sent a list of 100 names to the Front, including most notably Amin Iskandar, Kamal Abu Aita and Muhammad Muneeb, all members of the party’s supreme council, and Azazi Ali Azazi, former governor of Sharqiya and a founder of the party.

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