Nour Party head: Brotherhood should support new constitution

Younes Makhioun, the head of Egypt’s Nour Party, said that his party will not field a presidential candidate because Islamists are not qualified to rule.

al-monitor Younes Makhioun (R), the head of the Nour party, listens to party spokesman Nader Bakkar during a news conference about the constitution, Cairo, Dec. 5, 2013. Photo by REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany.

Topics covered

salafists, presidential elections, politics, muslim brotherhood, egypt, constitution, abdel fattah al-sisi

Feb 3, 2014

Younes Makhioun, the head of the Salafist Nour Party in Egypt, said that the chances of victory for Defense Secretary Maj. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the next presidential election seem better than for the other candidates, but “my opinion about this matter, which is not different than the party’s opinion, is that we shouldn’t link Egypt’s future to one individual. Egypt’s management must rely on institutions. We’ve had enough of linking Egypt’s future to individuals.”

Makhioun told Azzaman that his party would not field a candidate to contest the presidential election because “we have frankly declared our position that we and other Islamist factions are not qualified to rule. We must learn from the Muslim Brotherhood’s mistakes. The [Brotherhood] refused my advice not to field a candidate for the presidency. We told them that they are not qualified to rule because they lack political experience. And experience has proved that what we said was true and that we have more political experience than them.”

About holding the elections on the basis of individuals or lists, Makhioun told Azzaman, “I think that holding the elections on an individual basis deprives the parties of true representation. … The new constitution is one of the best constitutions in the history of Egypt. It is better than the 2012 constitution with respect to preserving principles of Sharia law. [The new constitution] has no articles that conflict with [Sharia]. And if the Muslim Brotherhood claims that this constitution is the ‘constitution of the dancers,’ I tell them that there were no dancers in the 50-member committee. Has the Brotherhood forgotten the famous concert they organized in Sharm el-Sheikh for Dolly Shahine?”

Makhioun added, “Although there are reservations on some [constitutional] articles, we must assess the constitution in light of the difficult conditions experienced by Egypt and which require the presence of a constitution in order to achieve stability. After that, parliament can change the articles on which some have reservations. … Regarding falsifying the referendum results, that is a lie because the [referendum] was 100% honest. The leadership of the Nour Party went to all provinces and we have seen many scenes about the fairness of the referendum. One person wanted to vote based on a photocopy of his ID card, but the polling station refused. It also refused to allow a man to vote in the place of his sick brother.”

About the Brotherhood’s allegations that the Nour Party failed to mobilize its supporters to vote in the referendum, Makhioun told Azzaman, “This is a lie. Everyone knows Nour’s efforts to support the referendum. The attack is a partisan matter because they have proved their failure in mobilizing the Egyptian street while we have succeeded in this matter. Regarding the low turnout in some polling stations, we ask you to refer to how the stations were redistributed in a way contrary to the place of residence. But despite that, we brought a large number of cars to transport people from their homes and fields to the polling stations.”

Makhioun said, “The state, in the coming period, must make achievements that are felt by ordinary citizens, especially in the fields of transitional justice, social justice and in relieving tension in the Egyptian street. The authorities must also look into the issue of the prisoners who have been detained without guilt during past events, and release figures for whom there is no evidence that they participated in violence.”

About the Nour Party’s initiative to stop the bloodshed, Makhioun told Azzaman, “The Brotherhood doesn’t trust the Nour Party and they deal with us as coup supporters. Things have gotten to the point of accusing our youths of apostasy and of encircling our mosques and homes.”

Makhioun said, “Nour came out of the womb of the Salafist call, which is an institutional call whose decisions are taken by the majority. So it is difficult to find differences inside it, although this doesn’t preclude the presence of Salafist currents associated with some sheikhs with different viewpoints on some matters.”

In response to a question about the party getting funding from Saudi Arabia, Makhioun said, “These are rumors being spread by the Brotherhood to tarnish our image. We don’t receive outside support. Our funding is through our members’ contributions.”

Makhioun added, “We demand a completely impartial government, and not partisan one, because there are many elections in the next stage and we must protect these elections from any suspicion [by means of] a completely neutral government. The minister who proves his success should stay in office. And the minister who fails should be changed. Regarding who should be prime minister, we have proposed the names of several figures … as alternatives to Dr. [Hazem el-] Beblawi, but we will not disclose them now.”

Makhioun told Azzaman, “Egypt is being exposed to a big conspiracy to divide it and create chaos in it, as happened in Iraq and Syria, so that Israel can implement is plots, considering that Egypt is the largest country in the region. And we have spotted a plot after Jan. 25 to smuggle weapons worth 60 million pounds [$8.6 million] into Egypt. Most [of the weapons] reached the thugs and the extremists. Some terrorists now have very advanced weapons that even the army doesn’t have. And there is a fear that those [terrorists] would control the country after the fall of the military. So we call on the Brotherhood to stop this meddling and to put national interests above special interests, and to work to maintain the armed forces as the backbone to protect Egypt and Egyptians.”

In response to a question about whether the Nour Party’s fate in the next phase may be like that of the Muslim Brotherhood, given that Nour is a religious party, Makhioun said, “We don’t fear that because we are not a religious party, but a political party that is open to all religions. And therefore the decision to dissolve [all religious parties] doesn’t apply to us.”

Makhioun said, “The return of figures from Mubarak’s era to the political scene by means of the invitation to support the June 30 revolution is an attempt by them to take advantage of this event. But I assure them that things returning to what they were before Jan. 25 is impossible.”

Continue reading this article by registering at no cost and get unlimited access to:
  • Al-Monitor Archives
  • The Week in Review
  • Exclusive Events
  • Invitation-only Briefings

More from  Mustafa Amara

Recommended Articles

Egypt backs Polisario Front, risks relations with Morocco
Khalid Hassan | | Nov 24, 2020
Egypt criticized for arrests of human rights advocates
Al-Monitor Staff | Human rights | Nov 20, 2020
Egypt, Sudan conduct joint military drills
Mohamed Saied | Defense/Security cooperation | Nov 20, 2020
The Takeaway: Iran’s mixed messages include diplomatic opening for Biden
Andrew Parasiliti | Iran-US tensions | Nov 18, 2020
Egypt's secret police arrest second prominent human rights activist this week
Al-Monitor Staff | Human rights | Nov 19, 2020