Weakened political parties face challenge of rebuilding

President Hosni Mubarak's resignation has brought new freedoms but also new challenges for opposition parties, who have long attributed their absence on the political scene to repression, say some opposition leaders.

Wafd Party President Al-Sayed al-Badawi said political parties have blamed their weakness on the regime and its repressive security apparatus. All opposition parties suffered under the former regime, he said, but the Muslim Brotherhood was the only group not to give up.

Al-Badawi said his party is ready for the upcoming elections.

Hussein Abdel Razeq, a leader from the leftist Tagammu Party, said the security apparatus played a role in stirring up conflicts among party members in order to keep them out of political life.

Parties which suffer from internal rifts will collapse following the 25 January uprising, he said, adding that Egyptians do not believe in those parties.

Sameh Ashour, first deputy of the Nasserist Party, said that opposition parties need to review their bylaws, platforms and choice of leaders or else risk total collapse over time, now that the former regime–the chief obstacle they faced–is gone.

Mamdouh Qenawi, president of the Free Social Constitutional Party, said he is opening the membership of his party to the youth of the 25 January uprising.

"If this youth does not join the party, I will abandon political life because the party is currently weak and the only hope is for them to play a role," he said.

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