As the new People’s Assembly takes effect, Egypt’s opposition faces a series of challenges, including internal divisions and the imperative of devising a strategy for the period in which they will remain largely absent from parliament.
The Muslim Brotherhood guidance bureau held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the fate of Brotherhood candidate Magdi Ashour, who won in Sunday’s run-offs, after the MB officially announced its withdrawal from the race, reports state-run Rose al-Youssef. Brotherhood sources revealed indications that Ashour’s movement membership will be frozen if opts to claim office. Meanwhile, the MB issued a statement on Wednesday disavowing Ashour as its MB representative in parliament.
The Muslim Brotherhood prepared files documenting electoral violations that ranged from the prevention of Brotherhood candidates from submitting registration applications to the failure to implement administrative justice court rulings, reports privately-owned Al-Shorouk. Sobhi Saleh, a former member of the MB parliamentary bloc, said he is preparing to appeal the final elections results to the Supreme Constitutional Court. Additionally, he claims to be currently organizing a series of documents demonstrating the unconstitutionality of the new parliament.
Meeting with members of the Brotherhood parliamentary bloc on Tuesday, the group's supreme guide Mohammed Badi said the National Democratic Party’s (NDP) conception of politics is one of “deceit,” and the Brotherhood’s understanding of politics is one of “values, and loyalty” and rejection of fraud. Badi asserted that the Brotherhood benefited from initially participating in the elections because it was able to expose evidence of NDP-orchestrated fraud and corruption.
The liberal opposition Wafd Party held executive committee and politburo meetings on Wednesday to discuss whether to dismiss the candidates who decided to participate in the run-offs despite the party’s decision to withdraw from the race, reports privately-owned Al-Shorouk. Assistant secretary general Hussein Mansour said that despite a majority opinion to dismiss those violating the boycott, some voices called for freezing memberships instead, arguing that MB candidates who violated the boycott had no choice due to pressure placed on them by the security apparatus. Mansour expects that the members will be dismissed and announced that the Wafd Party will send a letter to parliament in the next few days, declaring that the party does not endorse a parliamentary presence.
Of all six Wafd candidates who won in the first election rounds, none of them have expressed intentions to resign from the assembly. Wafd Secretary General Sayyid al-Badawi claimed that the party is currently exploring ways of allowing Egyptians real opportunities to exercise their votes, and planned to develop a new media campaign for the party. He asserted additionally that the party’s politburo is discussing political and legal means to deal with fraud and violence.
Amid a tense atmosphere at Wafd headquarters, reports state-run Rose Al-Youssef, doors were locked and only party leadership was allowed to enter. The security measures followed a series of threats by young party cadres to protest against the possible leniency toward renegade candidates. Young party cadres from various governorates issued a statement that gives dissenting candidates the choice between either resigning from parliament or losing party membership.
The leftist opposition Tagammu Party currently faces similar internal discord. The party’s vice president Anis al-Bayaa and a number of party secretaries in various governorates are mounting a campaign to remove party president Rifaat al-Said and secretary general Sayid Abdul Al, according to Rose al-Youssef. In addition, a Tagammu committee in Alexandria issued a statement condemning the party’s participation in the run-offs and asserting that the party’s poliburo no longer represents the platform of Tagammu or the interests of the Egyptian public. The statement called for the removal of al-Said, whom it accused of striking secret deals with the ruling party.
Finally, privately-owned Al-Dostour reports that a number of former opposition and independent members of parliament held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss how to deal with electoral fraud and the supreme administrative justice court ruling to annul the 2010 people’s assembly. Attendees, including Hamdin Sabahi, Mostafa Bakri, and Gamal Zahran, agreed to hold a protest in front of the High Justice Building next Sunday, and invited the Egyptian public to participate. Attendees explored the possibility of establishing an alternative “popular” parliament and discussed legal measures to void the new People’s Assembly and restore full judicial monitoring of elections.
Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt
Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size
Al-Gomhorriya: Daily, state-run
Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run, close to the National Democratic Party's Policies Secretariat
Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned
Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned
Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party
Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party
Youm7: Weekly, privately owned
Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned