Liberals, leftists unite against Islamists for parliamentary polls

Liberals and leftist powers and parties plan to unite in a new electoral alliance to face Islamists in the upcoming parliamentary elections. The proposed coalition would comprise the Third Current, a coalition of activists and politicians; the Popular Current, led by former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi; and the Constitution Party, led by Mohamed ElBaradei.

Representatives from both the Third Current and the Popular Current held a closed meeting Saturday at Center for Leadership Development to discuss forming a new alliance.

Law professor Hossam Eissa, Constitution Party leader George Ishaq, Lawyers Syndicate president Sameh Ashour, director Khaled Youssef and journalist Abdel Halim Qandil all attended the meeting.

Abdel Ghaffar Shokr, the head of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, said that the meeting lasted for three hours.

Shokr said that the attending powers refused to be named “civil forces,” and decided to present themselves as “national forces” to avoid conflict with Islamist movements.

Mohamed Samy, head of the Nasserist Karama Party, said that representatives of the three movements would hold another meeting by Tuesday to define a general framework for the new alliance, likely to be named the National Alliance.

No official spokesperson for the new alliance has been chosen.

Co-founder of Constitution Party Ahmed Darag said that the party will be part of the new alliance, pointing out that the meeting came in response to the call of acclaimed surgeon Mohamed Ghoneim to unify non-Islamist civil forces.

Hamdeen Sabbahi, former presidential candidate and founder of the Popular Current, noted the need to unite revolutionary forces in a single entity. He also underlined the importance of building a political front to gain the trust of citizens and participate in the parliamentary elections on consolidated lists. He said that the new alliance could be widened.

In the same context, representatives of 29 political parties and movements in Alexandria announced the establishment of the Democratic Civilian Current Saturday.

A number of the founders of the new coalition said that they aim to unite all civil forces in Alexandria, Beheira, Kafr al-Sheikh and Matrouh, to take part in the next parliamentary elections as one entity.

The group announced the establishment of the coalition in front of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

They stressed that they seek to “find a civilian counterpart [to face] the control of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the religious currents in general.”

One of the founders, Abul Ezz al-Hariry, said, “The civil current in Egypt is the one that carried out the struggle, and has the most credit for the January 25 revolution.”

Hariry accused the dissolved National Democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood of keeping Egypt down, and characterized the current Morsy government as similar to that of ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

On the other hand, a number of parties will hold an expanded meeting Monday at the invitation of the Egyptian Citizen and Freedom parties. The meeting will include a workshop to develop a vision for the new parliamentary election law, and a mechanism of forming alliances to confront Islamist movements in the upcoming elections.

Previous attempts by liberal and leftist parties to coalesce ahead of the November 2011 parliamentary elections did not result in a unified coalition, with two main groups working in the Egyptian Bloc and The Revolution Continues Coalition lists. 

The Muslim Brotherhood-led list took over 40 percent of Parliament, which was later dissolved after a court ruling ruled the parliamentary election law unconstitutional. 

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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