Egyptian Political Party Explorer

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Al-Tagammu
New Wafd
Al-Dostour
Social Democratic Party
Ghad al-Thawra
Free Egyptians
Strong Egypt
Egyptian Popular Current
Al-Wasat
Freedom and Justice
Al-Asala
Building and Development
Al-Watan
Al-Nour
Al-Raya
Secular Liberal
Conservative Islamist
Click to limit by coalition: All Parties Al-Ummah National Salvation Front
Founded: 1 January 1976

Al-Tagammu

Following President Anwar Sadat’s decision to transform Egypt’s one-party system into a limited multi-party system, former Free Officer Khaled Mohieddin established the Tagammu Party in 1976 . It was comprised of former Nasserites, Marxists, and Arab nationalists who advocated the establishment of a socialist society through the process of popular participation. The party has since moderated its position and lost the support it once had among intellectuals, labor union leaders, and workers. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the party moved closer to the government and was able to win five seats in the 2010 elections. One of the oldest Egyptian parties still in existence, al-Tagammu has struggled to redefine itself in a post-revolutionary era. After the uprising, it first joined the Democratic Alliance but left it to become a founding member of the Egypt Bloc.

Quotable

“The danger in the Muslim Brotherhood Party lies in its being a Salafi organization, which relies upon peddling in religion. They believe that if their candidate becomes president, Islam itself will have come to power.”

Rifaat al-Said
Quoted by Dream 2 TV 6/6/12

"Being pragmatic is not a bad thing; it is a style of thinking about and practicing politics.”

Khaled Mohieddin
Quoted in al-Ahram Weekly 7/18/02

Platform

Sharia / Legal

  • Calls for the separation of religion and politics.
  • States that Islam is not a solution to Egypt’s political instability or a path to social justice
  • Sees secular democracy as the sole solution to Egypt’s political needs and considers its main concerns to be justice, freedom, equality, and national unity

Constitution

  • Advocates establishing a strong judiciary
  • Participated widely in the “Constitution Comes First” campaign, which stated that the constitution should be ratified before parliamentary elections

Social

  • Would permit trade unions and NGOs to operate autonomously in Egypt

Women

  • Strongly advocates for basic human rights for women and minorities, states that Egypt must adhere to international and humanitarian standards of treatment and freedoms

Copts

  • Promotes full and entirely equal political and social rights for Copts

Economic

  • Opposes aid from international organizations such as the World Bank, claiming that such grants perpetuate poverty
  • Advocates the nationalization of natural resources and major industries
  • Proposes a redistribution of wealth across Egyptian social classes in order to achieve equal prosperity
  • Seeks to nationalize state banking structures

Foreign Policy

  • Seeks to reduce U.S. influence in Egypt
  • Rejects the Camp David Peace Treaty
  • Seeks to strengthen relations with the Arab League

Coalition Participation

Membership

  • National Salvation Front

Key Figures

Khaled Mohieddin

Mohieddin is the leader of the Tagammu Party. He has been a prominent member of Egyptian politics and the military since 1952. While in the military academy, he befriended a young Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein, the second president of Egypt (1956-1970). Together, they engineered a military coup d’état that toppled the monarchy in 1952. Following the demise of the monarchy, Mohieddin and Nasser had a dispute over the democratic and multi-party transitions that should take place. Mohieddin was exiled to Europe for 20 months. Upon his return to Egypt, he became the editor of the newspaper Al-Massa.

Rifaat al-Said

Al-Said is a founding member and the current chair of al-Tagammu. A professor at the American University in Cairo, al-Said has been a passionate participant in politics since the 1950s. He vehemently opposes Islamists and firmly stands by the separation of religion and politics.

Amina Shafiq

Shafiq is a founding member of al-Tagammu and a journalist/political activist by profession. She has been heavily involved in politics for over 30 years. Shafiq and Abdel Razek are competing for the position of al-Tagammu chair.
Founded: 28 March 1978

New Wafd

 

The New Wafd Party, often referred to as the Wafd, is the heir apparent to the original Wafd, Egypt’s oldest political party, which was formed during World War I under the leadership of Egyptian nationalist Saad Zaghloul. The New Wafd was founded in 1978 when President Anwar Sadat introduced limited pluralism into Egypt’s political process, but it struggled to attract members due to internal divisions, aging leaders, and a lack of dynamism. Historically the party of the business elites and the Copts, the New Wafd lost many of those elites to the ruling National Democratic Party, especially after the launch of economic reforms in the 1990s. The situation worsened when Wafd member Ayman Nour resigned in 2004 and attracted nearly a quarter of the Wafd party members to his new party, al-Ghad. In another sign of its declining political awareness, the Wafd did not take part in the protests in the first weeks of the 2011 revolution and was strongly criticized by youth activists. In Egypt’s first free parliamentary elections after Mubarak’s ouster in 2011, the party was briefly aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood ‘s Freedom and Justice Party, but after an outcry from party members it decided to run independently and won 9.2 percent of the popular vote, or 41 seats.

Quotable

“Today, the Egyptian state, represented by the Ministry of Interior, has collapsed. The ministry cannot maintain order, allowing militias to roam freely in the country.”

El-Sayed el-Badawi
Quoted in Al Arabiya 12/15/12

“First, development and democracy are tightly linked. In the absence of democracy, there is no development. "

El-Sayed el-Badawi
Quoted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 10/29/10

Platform

Sharia / Legal

  • Believes that political parties should not be based on religion or geographic affiliation or have an armed wing.
  • Supports a strong parliamentary democracy as opposed to an executive-dominated government.
  • Believes in a secular state that represents all Egyptians regardless of religion

Constitution

  • Opposed domination of the constitution-writing process by the Islamists
  • Supports the elimination of constitutional guarantees granting the military excessive autonomy
  • Opposes Article 76, which sets restrictions for running for president
  • Favors an article that guarantees judicial supervision of the electoral process

Women

  • Calls for equality between the sexes.
  • Included 87 women out of a total of 570 candidates on its party list during the 2011 elections

Copts

  • Calls for freedom of religion to be guaranteed.
  • Included 37 Copts out of a total of 570 candidates on its party list during the 2011 elections

Economic

  • Favors a market-based economy that also takes care of the poor.
  • Favors encouraging increased foreign investment.
  • Supports the right of workers to strike and stage sit-ins.

Foreign Policy

  • Supports an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital
  • Seeks to strengthen the Arab League and the role of diplomacy in resolving disputes among Arab countries
  • Proposes the formation of a common Arab trade market

Coalition Participation

Membership

  • National Salvation Front

Key Figures

El-Sayed el-Badawi

Party chairman el-Badawi has been a member of the Wafd since 1983 and its leader since 2010. Badawi is a successful businessman who owns al-Hayat television network and is on the board of a major pharmaceutical company. During the Mubarak era, he was accused by some of being too close to the regime.

Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour

Abdel-Nour is the Wafd’s general secretary. Like many Wafd officials, he is a successful businessman and also served as tourism minister in multiple post-revolution cabinets.

Fouad Badrawi

Badrawi is the party’s deputy chairman. He was considered a likely candidate to become the chairman in 2010, but decided not to run. His grandfather, Fuad Serag Eddin, was a major Wafd party figure in the 1970s.
Founded: 29 August 2012

Al-Dostour

 

The Dostour Party is a liberal party launched by Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei to uphold the democratic ideals of the Egyptian revolution. Al-Dostour has been critical of the growing dominance of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and of President Morsi’s political moves, including his constitutional decree of November 2012 that granted himself far-reaching powers.

On 24 November 2012, ElBaradei and six other prominent liberal leaders announced the formation of the National Salvation Front, which is aimed at rallying all non-Islamist groups to confront the policies of the Morsi government.  

On 6 January 2013, over 120 members of al-Dostour staged a sit-in at the party's headquarters in response to ElBaradei's inability to meet their demands to:

·      Restructure and improve the party's organization

·      Hold internal elections

·      Dissolve the steering committee

·      Remove the secretary general and organization secretary

·      Form a political bureau

The sit-in ended on 13 January when ElBaradei agreed to address the demands. He announced that internal elections would be held after the parliamentary elections. He gave the secretary general and organization secretary a deadline by which they had to complete their responsibilities. 

Quotable

"The aim of this party is to save the 25 January revolution, which has been derailed and is almost aborted, and to restore our unity…When this revolution started we never imagined the conditions we are in and the tragic transition we are living in today."

Mohamed ElBaradei
Quoted in al-Ahram Weekly 5/3/12

"The Constitution Party is a party of human values, social justice, and of knowledge and reason."

Mohamed ElBaradei
Quoted in Ahram Online 9/17/12

Platform

Sharia / Legal

  • Seeks to establish a secular Egypt

Social

  • Aims to implement a health care system that provides universal health care
  • Seeks to reform the government pay structure and the over-employment issue
  • States that it will work to develop poor and marginalized communities
  • Supports green initiatives and seeks to implement incentives for sustainable energy consumption

Women

  • Aims to provide equal rights for women

Copts

  • Aims to provide equal rights for Copts

Economic

  • Supports standardizing the tax system such that all citizens are taxed in accordance to income
  • Advocates a free market econom
  • Seeks to bring market stability by decreasing inflation, combating monopolies, and strengthening consumer rights groups
  • Supports cooperatives and public-private enterprises that give workers some ownership

Foreign Policy

  • Aims to restructure and strengthen the Arab League
  • Seeks to expand and strengthen relations with the European Union
  • Seeks to reevaluate Egypt's financial relationship with the United States

Key Figures

Mohamed ElBaradei

ElBaradei is the founding member of al-Dostour and serves as the party’s chair. He graduated from the University of Cairo in 1962 with a law degree, and in 1980 he received a Ph.D. in international law from New York University. In 1984, he joined the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as assistant director for external relations and rose to become the head of the agency. ElBaradei won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for his efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation. During the 2012 presidential election, ElBaradei announced his candidacy, but later withdrew because the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the parliament had not ratified a constitution. He has mentioned plans to run for the presidency in the 2016 elections.

George Ishaq

Ishaq is a Christian political activist and a founding member and leader of al-Dostour. He co-founded the Kefaya movement in 2004—a pro-democracy movement opposed to Mubarak’s policies. Many consider the Kefaya movement the impetus for the revolution.

Gamila Ismail

Ismail, a prominent figure in media and politics, is a co-founder of the party and a member of its steering committee. She entered politics after being fired from her position as a state television presenter after her husband, Ayman Nour, made critical statements against President Mubarak. In 2001, she ran for a seat in the Shura Council, the upper house of parliament, but lost to her opponent. In November 2011, she ran for an independent seat in parliament, but lost. Ismail continues to reach millions of Egyptians through her radio and YouTube channels.
Founded: 29 March 2011

Social Democratic Party

 

The Social Democratic Party was founded in March 2011 in the wake of the 25 January Revolution and was given official recognition 3 July 2011. The Social Democrats embrace free enterprise and social justice. Noted political scientist Amr Hamzawy was a founding member of the party, but left in April 2011 to form the Egypt Freedom Party. In the 2011 parliamentary elections, the party ran as a member of the Egyptian Bloc, a secular-leaning alliance that sought to counterbalance the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the elections. It has since been admitted to international socialist organizations, including the Socialist International and the Party of European Socialists.

Quotable

“We are open to coalition invitations from any civil political party, including leftist parties, but we will never get into a coalition with a party that bases itself on a religious frame of reference."

Mohamed Abu al-Ghar
Quoted in Ahram Online 5/15/11

“People's rights, especially [those of] the poor, are essential, and a civil state is a must."

Emad Gad
Quoted by the BBC 11/25/11

Platform

Sharia / Legal

  • Advocates a modern civil/secular state based on the equality of all citizens regardless of religion, sex, color, race, wealth, political affiliation, or party
  • States that democracy requires a state of laws and principles that includes a separation of powers among authorities
  • States that authorities must be held accountable to public opinion and advocates transparency in order to fight corruption

Constitution

  • Opposes constitutional provisions that bestow parliamentary immunity on the military
  • Supports including a component in the constitution that would ensure that no single political party dominates the government

Women

  • States that all citizens are equal under the law regardless of gender
  • Fielded 45 women out of 144 candidates on its party list in the 2011 elections

Copts

  • States that all citizens are equal under the law regardless of religious affiliation
  • Included 18 Copts on its party list in the 2011 elections

Economic

  • Follows the principle that development is achieved through a market economy with a commitment to social justice
  • Believes that economic development requires stimulus spending and the ownership and management of some assets by the state
  • Believes that foreign investment should be encouraged
  • Calls for a just distribution of funding among the provinces of Egypt

Foreign Policy

  • Calls for a stop to the global and regional arms race, including the proliferation of WMD
  • Opposes ending the peace treaty with Israel, instead preferring international consensus and pressure in order to solve the conflict
  • States that Egypt must cooperate with other democratic states in order to build a world in which social justice and human rights prevail
  • Opposes extremist forces and organizations that espouse violence

Coalition Participation

Commentary

The Social Democratic Party is a member of the Egyptian Bloc.

Key Figures

Mohamed Abu al-Ghar

Abu al-Ghar is president and founder of the party. Prior to the revolution, he was one of the founders of the 9 March movement, which called for increased academic and democratic freedoms on university campuses in Egypt. He was a member of the National Association for Change in 2010, led by Mohamed ElBaradei, which called for substantial democratic reform. Abu al-Ghar was a participant in the 2011 protest movement from its onset.

Amr Hamzawy

Hamzawy is a founding member of the Social Democrats. He resigned in April 2011.

Farid Zahran

Zahran is a founding member of the party, as well as a publisher and a civil society activist.
Founded: 9 October 2011

Ghad al-Thawra

The Ghad al-Thawra Party was established in 2011 by Ayman Nour, the only man ever to run against Hosni Mubarak in a presidential election (2005). It is a liberal secularist party that was originally established in 2004 under the name al-Ghad. Its goal is to establish a democratic state that promotes social justice, a decentralized government, and a strong parliamentary system. 

Quotable

“It is easy to boycott, hard to participate."

Ayman Nour
Quoted in Egypt Independent 3/3/13

Platform

Sharia / Legal

  • Denounces all religious discrimination and seeks to provide religious freedom and equality for all minority groups

Constitution

  • Supports Article 2 of the constitution “Islam is the religion of the State, Arabic is its official language, and the principles of Islamic Shariah form the main source of legislation” but rejects calling for the establishment of an “Islamic state.”

Social

  • Seeks to provide long-lasting education, health, and retirement reforms, including updating the education system’s curriculum.
  • Advocates developing a social security system run by private companies that are monitored by the state
  • Calls for implementing solutions to Egypt’s water scarcity challenge and to environmental hazards
  • Supports the worker’s right to strike

Women

  • Supports legal and social equality for women
  • Grants citizenship to foreign men married to Egyptian women

Copts

  • Seeks to guarantee equal rights for all minority groups regardless of faith and race

Economic

  • Seeks to develop a comprehensive state program that promotes rural and urban development
  • Advocates for an improved tax system and tax exemption for low-income families
  • Believes in establishing a development bank in order to address social reforms

Foreign Policy

  • Advocates for the establishment of a strong Arab League
  • Calls for revisiting provisions in the Camp David accords and discussing Egyptian forces in the Sinai
  • Supports the sovereignty and territorial rights of Palestinians

Coalition Participation

Membership

  • National Salvation Front

Commentary

Unlike the many liberal parties aligned with the National Salvation Front, which decided to boycott the postponed April 2013 elections, Ayman Nour announced in March 2013 that a majority of his party’s leadership had agreed to participate. “We shall run individually or within lists,” he said, calling on all parties to participate.

Key Figures

Ayman Nour

Nour was a prominent member of al-Wafd, a nationalist liberal party. In 2001, he left al-Wafd due to differences with Noaman Gomaa, then party chief. In 2004, Nour established al-Ghad (the Tomorrow Party), the predecessor of Ghad al-Thawra. In 2005, Nour ran in Egypt’s first multiparty election against Hosni Mubarak and Noaman Gomaa. Shortly after placing a distant second, in what are widely believed to have been corrupt elections, he was imprisoned by Mubarak under allegations of "forgery," charges that have been criticized as politically motivated.
Founded: 4 July 2011

Free Egyptians

 

The Free Egyptians Party is a right-wing liberal party that seeks to establish a democratic, secular nation with freedom and equality for all citizens. The party was founded by Coptic telecommunications mogul Naguib Sawiris with the aim of ensuring that the demands for social, economic, and judicial reform that arose from the revolution would be pursued.

During the Tahrir Square protests, Sawiris co-founded the “Committee of Wise Men,” a group of prominent professionals who sought to create channels of communication between the Mubarak regime and the Tahrir Square activists. Due to internal conflicts, the committee dissolved and Sawiris established the Free Egyptians Party in April 2011. It is comprised of like-minded professionals and intellectuals.

The party is firmly pro-business and pro-trade and focuses on economic development based on a free economy, strong state institutions, and the rule of law. Though Sawiris is a Copt, he has made it clear that the party is open to all Egyptians; as a result it has attracted a diverse membership. The party accepts Islam as the state religion but advocates religious freedom in a civil state and stresses the equality of all citizens regardless of creed. 

Quotable

“We will fight till the last breath.”

Khaled Bishara
Tweeted 12/28/12

Platform

Sharia / Legal

  • Seeks to establish a secular nation.

Coalition Participation

Commentary

The Free Egyptians Party is a member of the Egyptian Bloc, a secular-leaning coalition that seeks to establish a civil democratic state and espouses values of social and economic prosperity.

Key Figures

Naguib Sawiris

Sawiris is the founder of the Free Egyptians Party and currently serves on the party’s board of trustees. As the former executive chairman of the Orascom Group, one of Egypt's most diversified conglomerates and the country's largest private sector employer, Sawiris has been able to draw on large financial resources and management expertise to help build his party. However, his tenure has not been without controversy. In June 2011 he tweeted an image of Mickey Mouse with an Islamic beard and Minnie Mouse wearing a full Muslim veil, which stirred outrage and led to accusations of racism and Islamophobia. His tweet also led to calls for a boycott of the various businesses in which he has invested, including the telecom company Mobinil and al-Masry al-Youm newspaper.
Founded: 31 October 2012

Strong Egypt

The Strong Egypt Party was established by former presidential candidate and moderate Islamist Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh as an economically progressive and socially moderate political group. Although the party was highly critical of President Morsi’s constitutional decree issued in November 2012, it did not join the opposition or the election boycott, and it announced in March 2013 its intention to compete in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Though Aboul Fotouh has said that he respects the groups that decided to boycott the polls, he urged political powers to participate in order to prevent “a specific party from monopolizing the presidency, the parliament, and the government.”

Quotable

"As for the president, we have to oppose him peacefully, and cooperate with him if he does right."

Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh
Quoted in Egypt Independent 5/17/12

“It cannot be the philosophy of the constitution of a country like Egypt, where 70 percent of its citizens are poor and 40 percent are below the poverty line, to neglect social justice.”

Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh
Quoted in Egypt Independent 12/14/12

Platform

Sharia / Legal

  • Opposes Egypt’s presidential system and supports a mixed presidential and parliamentary system.
  • Supports decentralized powers at a governorate level

Constitution

  • Adheres to Article 2 of the constitution (“Islam is the religion of the State, Arabic is its official language, and the principles of Islamic Shariah form the main source of legislation”), but also states that it respects Egypt’s cultural, religious, and ethnic diversity.
  • Rejects the provision that grants al-Azhar oversight of Islamic issues in the constitution
  • Rejects the creation of the National Defense Council, an emergency council comprised of military officials and top ministers

Social

  • Opposes state intrusion into individual freedom, such as freedom of expression

Copts

  • States that Copts and other Egyptian minority groups deserve the same rights and freedoms as Muslim citizens

Economic

  • Seeks to develop a strong Egyptian economy that efficiently uses its natural resources
  • Recognizes the economic rights of the poor and disabled

Foreign Policy

  • States that Israel and its nuclear program pose the biggest threat to the region
  • Believes that the United States’ military and economic capabilities pose a threat to Egypt’s national security
  • Denounces the Camp David accords as an agreement that benefits only Israel

Key Figures

Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh

Aboul Fotouh, the founder of the Strong Egypt Party, is a physician and lawyer by training. In the 1970s he helped establish al-Gama`a al-Islamiya, a once militant organization that renounced violence in 2003. He has also been affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood since the early 1970s, and from 1987 until 2009 he was a member of the Brotherhood's guidance bureau, an affiliation that landed him in jail on multiple occasions under the Mubarak regime. However, he was expelled from the Brotherhood when he decided to run for president during the 2012 election, despite the group’s pledge at the time that it would not field a candidate. Those close to Aboul Fotouh claim that his hard-line views have softened over the years, leading to a falling out with the Brotherhood’s hawkish leadership. He has, for instance, stated that women and Coptic Christians should have the right to run for president—a position that puts him at odds with his more conservative peers.

Mokhater Noah

Noah is a co-founder of the Strong Egypt Party. He is an Islamist lawyer by profession and a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Rabab el-Mahdi

Mahdi is a co-founder of the Strong Egypt Party. She is a left-wing activist and assistant professor of political science at the American University in Cairo.
Founded: 12 September 2012

Egyptian Popular Current

The Egyptian Popular Current was created by Hamdeen Sabahi after the 2012 presidential elections. Sabahi ran as an independent and won 21 percent of the vote in the first round, making him ineligible to proceed to the runoff election by only 2 percent. Sabahi asserts that the Popular Current is not a party per se, but is rather a grassroots movement that aims to accommodate many parties. The Popular Current is also not based on a specific ideology, but instead seeks to preserve the goals of the revolution and bring about social justice. Its central committee is composed mainly of secular, liberal, leftist, and Nasserist political figures that are members of other political parties. The ideologies they bring together often conflict with each other, with the only common ground being the rejection of the Islamist current, specifically the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists. 

Quotable

“The Popular Current is [a] coalition of forces that voted for Hamdeen Sabahi, including those who are already affiliated [with] existing parties or individuals who are reluctant to join political parties but view Sabahi as a symbol.”

Amin Iskandar
Quoted in al-Akhbar English 9/24/12

Platform

Constitution

  • Supports a new constitution that “enshrines all public freedoms, guarantees the independence of the judiciary; guarantees the freedom of press, innovation, thought, and belief; provides equality between citizens in rights and duties; and establishes the rule of law and institutions.”
  • Rejected the draft constitution based on its lack of economic and social rights for Egyptians.

Women

  • Seeks to affirm an enlightened, moderate religion that calls for freedom, justice, and equality and rejects discrimination on the basis of belief, gender, or color.

Copts

  • Seeks to affirm an enlightened, moderate religion that calls for freedom, justice, and equality and rejects discrimination on the basis of belief, gender, or color.

Economic

  • Seeks to implement development projects that would guarantee equal opportunity and distributive justice for all Egyptians.
  • Seeks development projects that would protect Egyptians’ rights to basic needs, including food, housing, health care, education, employment, fair wages, comprehensive insurance, and a clean environment.

Foreign Policy

  • Seeks to ensure that Egypt will once again be a leader in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Supports Egypt as an independent state that opposes rapid globalization.

Coalition Participation

Membership

  • National Salvation Front

Commentary

The Egyptian Popular Current is a founding member of the National Salvation Front, which has said that it will boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Key Figures

Hamdeen Sabahi

Sabahi is the leader of the Popular Current and the co-leader of the National Salvation Front. He began his political career at the University of Egypt in the 1970s, where he obtained a degree in mass communications and was involved with his student union. In 1977 he met then-president Anwar Sadat and outwardly criticized him for his infitah (“openness”) policy and the appropriation of peasant lands by the government. Throughout his political career, Sabahi has been a supporter of Nasserist policies and has advocated for socialist economic reform. He served in the parliament for two terms under President Mubarak but remained critical of the regime and was affiliated with the Kefaya movement. Sabahi was an early supporter of the 2011 revolution and announced his candidacy for president shortly after the fall of Mubarak. Though he only attained 21 percent of the vote and did not qualify for the election’s runoff, he utilized his electoral popularity to form the Popular Current in September 2012.
Founded: 19 February 2011

Al-Wasat

 

Formed in 1996 by a group of former Muslim Brotherhood members, the Wasat Party was refused an official license by the Egyptian Political Parties Committee, which was headed by the ruling National Democratic Party, due to its perceived affiliation with the Brotherhood. The founding members objected to the centralized nature of decision-making in the Muslim Brotherhood and adopted a more moderate Islamic ideology. Rooted in the Wasatiyya (centrist) school of thought, their approach combines Shariah legal principles with the acceptance of a liberal democracy. After applying for legal status in 1996 and 1999, key Wasat Party leaders were able to obtain permission from Egypt’s Ministry of Social Affairs to form the Egyptian Association for Culture and Dialogue, a non-governmental organization through which party leaders were able to conduct many of their social programs and outreach activities. Critical of the Mubarak regime, the Wasat leadership was among the early opposition forces to the Egyptian government and was actively involved in the 2004 founding and subsequent activities of the Kefaya movement, which was the first political organization to demand that the Mubarak regime step down. Al-Wasat was the first political party to apply for and obtain an official license in the wake of the 25 January revolution. 

Quotable

“If al-Azhar is allowed to enter politics, then so should the Pope.”

Aboul-Ela Maadi
Quoted in Ahram Online 11/19/11

Platform

Sharia / Legal

  • Seeks to reconcile Islamic legal principles with the principles of a liberal democracy.
  • Favors imposing term limits on the president and limiting executive powers.
  • Seeks to establish transparency and accountability in the government.

Social

  • Favors subsidizing basic services to the poor.
  • Supports utilizing zakat (alms-giving) institutions to bring about economic social justice.
  • Seeks to provide universal health insurance to all Egyptians and improve the quality of public hospitals.
  • Seeks to introduce education reform and improve literacy rates.

Women

  • Seeks to guarantee equal rights for all Egyptians regardless of gender, race, religion, or class.
  • Accepts the right of women to run for all public offices, including the presidency

Copts

  • Accepts the right of religious minorities to run for all public offices, including the presidency.
  • Would consider including Coptic candidates in the party.

Economic

  • Supports a free market economy tempered by government involvement.

Foreign Policy

  • Supports the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and the right of Palestinians to resist Israeli occupation by any means necessary.
  • Seeks to prioritize relations with Sudan and Nile Basin countries.

Coalition Participation

Commentary

Though al-Wasat had not run in elections as part of any major coalition, it formed a “centrist” alliance with the Hadara Party in March 2013 called the Moderate Current in anticipation of the upcoming lower house elections. It is thought that the Ghad al-Thawra, Fadila, Asala, Strong Egypt, Reformation and Renaissance, and Egyptian Current parties are also likely to join the coalition.

Key Figures

Aboul-Ela Maadi

Maadi is a co-founder and the current president of al-Wasat. Born in 1958, his previous affiliations include both al-Gama`a al-Islamiya and the Muslim Brotherhood, the latter of which he joined when he was in prison for political activism in 1979. In 1996 he defected from the Brotherhood and formed al-Wasat. Maadi is known as an advocate for a moderate interpretation of Islamic legal texts and as a proponent of engagement with non-Islamic political groups. Maadi supported the 25 January revolution from the outset and pushed for a swift transition to civilian rule throughout Egypt’s post-revolutionary period. Maadi is the founder of Misr for Dialogue and Culture, a non-profit organization aimed at fostering Muslim-Christian dialogue, and was a founding member of the anti-Mubarak protest movement Kefaya in 2004.

Essam Sultan

After defecting from the Muslim Brotherhood in 1996, Sultan co-founded the Wasat Party with Aboul-Ela Maadi and currently serves as its vice president. He represented al-Wasat in the 2011 elections for Egypt’s first People’s Assembly, receiving the second largest number of votes behind the Brotherhood’s Saad el-Katatni in the race for the position of speaker of the lower house. He is a founder of the Egyptian Association for Culture and Dialogue and the National Association for Change, and is a member of the Egyptian and Arab Organization for Human Rights.

Mohammed Abdul-Latif

Abdul-Latif formerly served as the vice president of al-Wasat and was a member of the first Constitutional Assembly of Egypt. He is the party’s current secretary-general.
Founded: 21 February 2011

Freedom and Justice

 

The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) was founded in the immediate aftermath of the 2011 Egyptian revolution, when the Muslim Brotherhood announced its intention to form a political party. Today the FJP is the dominant Islamist party in Egypt, headed by President Mohamed Morsi, who won Egypt’s first post-Mubarak presidential election in June 2012. The victory followed the Brotherhood’s initial pledge not to field a presidential candidate, a decision it later rescinded. Earlier, in the 2011-2012 parliamentary elections, FJP candidates garnered approximately 40 percent of the vote, representing the largest percentage of seats held by a single party within the assembly, which was later dissolved. Their success was largely attributed to the popularity the Muslim Brotherhood had earned by providing charity to the poor for decades as well as to their organizational networks, which allowed FJP candidates to run effective campaigns throughout the country.

Officially banned for decades by the Egyptian government, the Muslim Brotherhood had never participated formally as a party in prior elections. With the creation of the FJP, members have struggled to define the distinction between the Brotherhood and the party, claiming that they are separate entities that share the same Islamic ideals. The FJP is not directly integrated into the greater Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure, and its leaders have typically resigned from their positions within the Brotherhood’s guidance bureau. Yet the two organizations remain tightly linked, with the Brotherhood explicitly ordering its members not to join parties other than the FJP.

 

Despite growing national frustration with Morsi’s leadership and declining popular support for the Brotherhood, the FJP is expected to maintain a majority of seats within any elected assembly that emerges from the 2013 parliamentary elections. 

Quotable

“The presidency will be an institution...the Superman era is over.”

Mohamed Morsi
Quoted by the BBC 5/28/12

“The FJP realizes the importance of the precarious phase Egypt is going through right now. "

Saad el-Katatni
From the Freedom and Justice Party website 3/10/13

Platform

Sharia / Legal

  • Supports the establishment of Islam as the state religion and Islamic law as the key and fundamental source of legislation for governance of “all aspects of human life.”
  • Seeks the application of Islamic law to the Egyptian judiciary and society with the caveat that non-Muslims will be granted rights outside of Shariah.
  • Seeks to give the Supreme Constitutional Court the right to establish whether or not legislation passed by the parliament is aligned with the laws of Shariah and to reject that which is found incompatible with Islamic law.
  • Explicitly endorses the abolition of all special courts and the establishment of a single and centralized civilian court

Constitution

  • Favors the new constitution, calling the document the “natural end of the transitional phase.”
  • Considers the provisions for the role of Shariah in the constitution to be sufficient in meeting the party’s stated desire to see Islamic law included.
  • Seeks to both guarantee freedom of expression within the constitution and to uphold what it sees as the “fundamental” values of Egyptian society and heritage, such as the role of Islamic law and the prohibition against blasphemy.

Social

  • Pledges to provide for the basic needs of the handicapped and to ensure that those who are unemployable receive benefits from the state.
  • Supports state involvement in charity and loans giving, as well as maintaining the Muslim Brotherhood’s historical emphasis on the provision of social services to Egypt’s underserved populations.

Women

  • Does not allow women to vote in its internal elections but asserts that all citizens, regardless of gender, are equal under the law
  • Asserts women’s right to run for public office, including the presidency (though its leaders have stated that the party would not support a female presidential candidate)
  • Does not fully endorse the UN declaration on violence against women, saying that it “fails to take our country’s law into consideration.”

Copts

  • Accepts the right of religious minorities to run for all public offices, including the presidency
  • Asserts that under Shariah religious minorities are free to conduct their own affairs and are afforded protection under the law to follow their respective codes of conduct

Economic

  • Believes in the importance of free markets for Egypt’s economic prosperity but recommends some government interference
  • Supports Islamic banking as fundamental to the state and sees Egypt’s Central Bank as charged with expanding its Islamic finance offerings
  • Endorses the rights of Egyptian workers on a broad and abstract level, but opposes ongoing labor strikes
  • Seeks to increase foreign direct investment into Egypt

Foreign Policy

  • Declares that the “Palestinian problem” represents one of the most pressing security threats to Egypt and is a foreign policy priority
  • Supports the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and the right of return for Palestinian refugees
  • Has been ambiguous about the Camp David accords, with some officials saying that the party respects the treaty and others saying that the treaty should be “revised.”
  • Opposes “the imposition of neoliberal economic policies” by Western countries via conditional aid and the global financial structure.
  • Supports leveraging Egypt’s “soft power” tools—al-Azhar, the Coptic Church, and the country’s rich cultural and historical heritage—in service of foreign policy and improved international relations.

Coalition Participation

Commentary

During the 2011 parliamentary elections the Freedom and Justice Party led the Democratic Alliance for Egypt, a coalition of 11 parties. FJP candidates represented over 60 percent of the alliance list, with candidates from the Karama and Ghad al-Thawra parties making up the bulk of the remaining seats. After the 2011 elections, and due to a number of defections from and schisms within the coalition, the Democratic Alliance was dissolved. The FJP currently is not a member of any political coalition, and although the party has declared that it is open to forming alliances, it has also stated its intention to win a majority of seats in the new parliament without running under a broader list.

Key Figures

Mohammed Morsi

Morsi was the first chair of the Freedom and Justice Party and currently serves as the president of Egypt. As a longstanding member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi’s involvement in Egyptian politics predates the FJP. Educated at the University of Cairo and the University of Southern California, from which he received a Ph.D., Morsi is an engineer by training. After being involved in the movement for many years, his official participation in the Brotherhood began in 2000, when he was elected as a member of the organization’s people’s assembly. From 2000 to 2005 he was the leader of the Brotherhood’s parliamentary block, and from 2005 onward he was a key figure in the Brotherhood’s political division, serving as an important point of contact with the Mubarak regime. After Mubarak’s fall, he was appointed chair of the FJP and in April 2012 became the party’s candidate for the Egyptian presidency, which he went on to win with 52 percent of the vote.

Saad el-Katatni

Katatni is the FJP’s chair, having taken over the position from Mohamed Morsi when Morsi won the presidency. A microbiologist by training, Katatni led the Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc from 2005 to 2010. He became the secretary general of the FJP upon its formation in 2011, and he won a seat in the People’s Assembly in the 2011 elections, later becoming the Assembly’s speaker. Upon becoming chair of the FJP, Katatni reaffirmed his and the party’s commitment to ensuring that Shariah law be established in Egypt and enshrined in its legal system He is on the Brotherhood’s internal shura council, is a member of Amnesty International, and has served as the head of the Egyptian science syndicate.

Essam el-Erian

Erian is the vice chair for the party. Born in Cairo’s Imbaba neighborhood in 1954, he was originally trained as a physician at Cairo University. Later Erian enrolled in al-Azhar University’s Faculty of Islamic Shariah and Law. During his time as a student in the 1970s, he became heavily involved in the work of the Muslim Brotherhood and later served on its guidance bureau. In 1981, Erian was arrested during the September riots in which members of Islamic groups were targeted, though he was released in early 1982. From 1995 to 2000 he was held again after being tried in a military court. He was detained a third time for several months in 2006 for supporting a strike by Cairo judges. In December 2011 he was elected to the new Egyptian parliament, where he serves as head of the foreign affairs committee.

Rafik Habib

Born in 1959 in Minya, Upper Egypt, Habib was elected deputy chair of the FJP in July 2011, becoming the only non-Muslim in the party’s top four positions. Although a practicing Coptic Christian, Habib, who has a Ph.D. in psychology from Ain Shams University, has been associated with the Muslim Brotherhood since 1989, when he began researching Islamic movements. He has publicly praised the organization as being one of the most sophisticated in the country, and has stated that Egypt’s Muslim majority dictates the need for an Islamic state under a Muslim president, with a parliament that includes representatives from various minority groups. In December 2012, he announced that he planned to withdraw from political life, becoming one of a number of Morsi advisors to resign amidst the 2012 protests.
Founded: 28 August 2011

Al-Asala

Al-Asala is a Salafi party established in the wake of the Egyptian revolution by Adel Abdel Maqsoud Afifi, the older brother of the well-known Salafi preacher, Muhammad Abdel Maqsoud Afifi. It is an ultra-conservative group that seeks to establish an Islamic state and implement Shariah law as Egypt’s primary source of legislation. It also seeks to spread justice and equality with “a contemporary vision” of original Islamic principles.

Quotable

“Support God and reject the constitution.”

Adel Abdel Maqsoud Afifi
Posted on his Facebook page 10/30/12

“We came to free Egypt from any corruption and any subordination to any identity other than Islamic identity.”

Mamdouh Ismail
Quoted in Youm7 10/12/11

Platform

Sharia / Legal

  • Seeks to preserve fundamental rights and public freedoms with the framework of Islamic law.
  • Calls for Islamic law to serve as the guiding principle for all political, social, and economic issues.
  • Calls for the right of Egyptians to hold political figures accountable for irresponsible leadership or corruption.

Constitution

  • Opposes Article 2 of the constitution, which states: “Islam is the religion of the State, Arabic is its official language, and the principles of Islamic Shariah form the main source of legislation.” Wants to replace “principles of Islamic Shariah” with “rulings of Shariah.”
  • Opposes Article 5 of the constitution, which states: “Sovereignty belongs to the people who exercise and protect it, safeguard national unity, and authority is derived from them, all in the manner set out in the constitution.” Wants to replace “Sovereignty belongs to the people…” with “Sovereignty is for God alone.”

Women

  • Grants political and social rights to women in accordance with the party’s conservative interpretation of Shariah law.
  • Opposes women running for the presidency.

Copts

  • Affirms that under Shariah law justice will be provided for all denominations.
  • Opposes Copts running for the presidency.

Economic

  • Seeks to reposition Egypt as a major regional player in trade and international economic agreements.
  • Plans to use Egypt’s natural resources to improve the social and economic levels of Egyptians.

Foreign Policy

  • Supports the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state.
  • Calls for the establishment of strong relations with Nile Basin countries to ensure stable relations in the region.
  • Rejects the Camp David accords entirely.

Coalition Participation

Membership

  • Al-Ummah

Key Figures

Adel Abdel Maqsoud Afifi

Afifi, the president of al-Asala, is the former president of the Virtue (Fadila) Party. Due to internal disputes in al-Fadila, he founded the Asala Party in July 2011. The party gained official recognition a month later. Afifi was also formerly the director of passports and immigration control at the Ministry of the Interior.

Ehab Sheeha

Sheeha is a founding member of al-Asala and was elected vice president of the party on 4 January 2013. He is an engineer and is the owner of a construction company.

Mamdouh Ismail

Ismail is the deputy chair of al-Asala. He is a lawyer by trade and works closely to defend members of al-Gama`a al-Islamiya who have been accused of terrorism in Egypt.
Founded: 1 June 2011

Building and Development

 

The Building and Development Party is the official political party of the Islamist group al-Gama`a al-Islamiya. Once committed to overthrowing the Egyptian government, al-Gama`a al-Islamiya’s imprisoned leaders renounced violence in 2003. Founded by prominent Islamists, including Tarek al-Zumar, the party is now a right-wing conservative group that seeks to establish a democracy whose principles are based on Shariah law. The party’s founders state that the group has accepted the principles of political pluralism and equality. Zumar made headlines in Egypt in March 2011 when he was released from prison along with Abboud al-Zumar, after the two spent 30 years in prison for planning President Anwar al-Sadat’s assassination.

 

Quotable

“Al-Gama`a’s vision that Egypt should be an Islamic country doesn’t mean we don’t acknowledge other non-Islamic identities."

Nasr Abdel Salam
Quoted in Ahram Online 10/21/11

"Those calling for the downfall of President Mohamed Morsi have rejected democracy because President Morsi has been democratically elected by popular will."

Party Platform
Quoted by Reuters 11/23/12

Platform

Sharia / Legal

  • Calls for Islamic law to serve as the guiding principle for all political, social, and economic issues.
  • Favors establishing Islamic hudud, a separate class of severe crimes and corresponding punishments recognized under certain interpretations of Shariah law.
  • Favors strong judicial oversight of national security apparatus.

Constitution

  • Supports the inclusion of Shariah law as the basis for the Egyptian legal system and as a core component of the constitution.

Women

  • Encourages women to stay within their traditional roles in society and pursue occupations in the domestic sphere.

Copts

  • Says that Shariah law enshrined within the Egyptian legal and political system will protect minorities.
  • Party members included five Copts in 2011.

Economic

  • Seeks to develop Islamic banks as a fundamental component of the Egyptian economy
  • Declares its intention to nationalize Egypt’s natural resources
  • Denounces all foreign aid loans, including those from the United States

Foreign Policy

  • Seeks to develop Egypt’s international role through greater outreach to other Islamic-oriented countries and actors
  • Seeks to establish and develop strong economic and political ties with Nile Basin countries

Coalition Participation

Commentary

The Building and Development Party is a branch of the Islamist Bloc, an electoral coalition formed by three Islamist political parties in November 2011 with the aim of coordinating efforts in the 2011-2012 parliamentary elections. Comprised of the Building and Development Party, al-Nour, and al-Asala, these parties share a vision of establishing Shariah law and denouncing the corruption of the former regime by upholding the moral pillars of Islam.

Key Figures

Tarek al-Zumar

Zumar is a founder of the Building and Development Party. He served 30 years in prison for planning the assassination of President Sadat in 1981.

Ashraf Tawfiq

Tawfiq is a party founder and prominent Islamist.

Nasr Abdel Salam

Abdel Salam is chief of the party and its secretary general.

Safwat Abdel Ghany

Abdel Ghany is a member al-Gama`a al-Islamiya’s shura council.
Founded: 1 January 2013

Al-Watan

The Watan Party formed as a result of a split within the Salafi Nour Party. In December 2012 Nour Party chairman Emad Abdel Ghafour resigned and declared that he would establish the Watan Party. Abdel Ghafour objected to the Nour Party’s oversight by Salafi clerics, known as al-Dawa`a al-Salafiya (the Salafi Call), and sought more freedom to form alliances with other parties such as the Freedom and Justice Party. Abdel Ghafour has presented his new party as being representative of the hopes and dreams of the average Egyptian, saying that the Nour Party had grown “isolated.” 

Quotable

“Elections should only be based on qualification, not gender. It is wrong to demand for women a certain place on a list or an overall quota."

Ahmed al-Qadri
Reported by the Atlantic Council 1/15/13

“The Watan Party opens its doors to all sincere members of the homeland. We will not be exclusionist; rather, we extend our hand to everybody and refuse factionalism."

Yousry Hammad
Quoted in Asharq al-Awsat 1/7/2013

Platform

Sharia / Legal

  • Supports Shariah as the authority and general law of the state.
  • Recognizes the right of non-Muslims to refer to their own laws.

Constitution

  • Opposes Article 2 of the constitution, which states that “the principles of Islamic Shariah form the main source of legislation.” Believes the word “principles” limits the scope of Shariah.

Social

  • Supports investment in education reform with a specific focus on emphasizing modern technology and technical skills.
  • Aims to extend health insurance to all sectors of society and provide free health care to the poor.
  • Encourages social justice through the establishment of minimum and maximum wages.

Women

  • Seeks to improve awareness of women’s rights and legal legitimacy in a way that does not contradict the “fundamental values of society.”
  • Supports women joining the party and “playing a role.”

Copts

  • Supports law guaranteeing freedom of religion
  • Supports Copts joining the party.

Economic

  • Supports increased investment in agriculture and scientific research to improve agriculture.
  • Seeks to develop foreign trade by increasing exports and helping Egyptian companies to participate in international markets.
  • Aims to attract foreign investment through legal reform and to encourage tourism through the improvement of infrastructure.
  • Seeks to prevent tax evasion and promote a progressive tax that would achieve equality and social justice.
  • Seeks to develop legislation that would curb monopolistic practices, including the introduction of price and local market controls.
  • Supports increased investment in Sinai.

Foreign Policy

  • Seeks to revive Egypt’s role in the region and safeguard common interests with foreign countries.
  • Seeks to strengthen relations with countries in the Nile River basin and remain open to political and economic alliances with all Arab countries.
  • Supports the demands of the Palestinians for the liberation of their territory and the achievement of full rights.

Coalition Participation

Commentary

Though it was initially rumored that the Watan Party would form a coalition with Sheikh Abu Ismail’s new party, al-Raya, there was speculation in spring 2013 that al-Watan might join a coalition fronted by the moderate Islamist parties al-Wasat and al-Hadara.

Key Figures

Emad Abdel Ghafour

Abdel Ghafour, the founder of al-Watan, graduated from the School of Medicine at the University of Alexandria in 1983. During his studies he became politically active, and he joined al-Dawa`a al-Salafiya (the Salafi Call), a Salafi clerical group, in 1977. In 2011 he was a founding member of the Salafi Nour Party and served as the organization’s president until December 2012, when he resigned due to internal conflicts and announced the establishment of al-Watan. Following the 2011 revolution, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces selected Abdel Ghafour to serve on its Advisory Council, and President Moris also appointed him to serve as his advisor on social communications.

Ahmed al-Qadri

Born in Alexandria in 1980, Qadri, the current English language spokesperson for al-Watan, became involved in political activities during his doctoral studies at Strathclyde University in the United Kingdom from 2006-2009. As a Muslim in the UK, Qadri was inspired to delve deeper into his religious heritage, and he eventually became vice president of the Muslim Students Association at the university. Qadri returned to Egypt after the revolution and was encouraged to run in the parliamentary elections under the Nour Party list. Though the party lost to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, Qadri remained active in the Nour party, joining its energy committee and eventually becoming the committee’s vice president and executive officer. In January 2013 Qadri left the Nour Party to join the Watan Party.

Tarek Shaalan

Former head of the Nour Party’s economic committee, Shaalan is one of the founding members of al-Watan and currently serves as head of its economic committee.
Founded: 12 June 2011

Al-Nour

The Nour Party was established by al-Da`wa al-Salafiyya (“The Salafi Call”) in response to the 25 January 2011 Egyptian uprising. The Nour Party is an ultraconservative group that would like to establish an Islamic state and implement Shariah law as Egypt’s primary source of legislation. It advocates gradual reform under the slogan, “The only reform we desire is the reform we can achieve.”  This slogan is based on a view of the principles of Islam as a comprehensive framework for religion and state. In the lead-up to the 2011 parliamentary elections, al-Nour joined the Islamist Bloc, an electoral alliance of Egyptian political parties that included al-Nour, the Authenticity Party, and the Building and Development Party, the political wing of the Islamic Group (al-Gama`a al-Islamiyya). Al-Nour secured 111 of the 127 seats won by the Islamist Bloc in the 2011 parliamentary elections.  

Quotable

“We will address all the mistakes that were committed in the first stage [by the Freedom and Justice Party]. We have youth and a capable cadre...and God is with us."

Emad Abdel Ghafour
While a Nour member, quoted in al-Akhbar English, 12/4/11

“We are not seeking rule for the sake of rule, for we are not hungry for power. We only entered the [political] realm to introduce reform.”

Younes Makhyoun
Quoted in Egypt Independent, 1/9/13

Platform

Sharia / Legal

  • Calls for Islamic law to serve as the guiding principle for all political, social, and economic issues.
  • Supports separation between the legislative, judicial, and executive powers and the independence of the judiciary.

Constitution

  • Supports Article 2 of the Egyptian constitution, which states that Islam is the religion of the state and that Islamic law is the main source of legislation.

Women

  • Advocates limiting women’s labor rights (that is, women should not hold leadership positions over men in the workplace).
  • Advocates encouraging women to remain within their traditional roles in society and discourages them from pursuing careers and positions of leadership.
  • Calls for enforcing a strict dress code for women.
  • Supports gender segregation in schools and offices.

Copts

  • Supports freedom of religion for Copts and allowing them their own personal status laws.
  • Would consider Coptic candidates if they accept the party’s program.

Social

  • Calls for voluntary zakat (alms-giving) and waqf (donating land or money to charitable organizations) in order to distribute social services horizontally.

Economic

  • Supports economic equality and the redistribution of wealth. Opposes privatizing land, water, energy, and natural resources in accordance with Islamic law.
  • Supports the expansion of Islamic banks.
  • Calls for nationalizing agriculture to ensure food security in Egypt.
  • Denounces foreign aid and loans.

Foreign Policy

  • Respects existing treaties and conventions. Calls for improving Egypt’s regional and international role and improving relations with neighboring countries

Key Figures

Emad Abdel Ghafour

Abdel Ghafour is founder and former president of al-Nour. He joined al-Da`wa al-Salafiyya (The Salafi Call), a group established in the 1970s that serves as the theological center for the Salafi movement, in 1977. He served as the head of al-Nour from 2011 until 1 January 2013, when he resigned due to internal conflicts. Abdel Ghafour then announced the establishment of the Watan Party, of which he currently serves as president.

Younes Makhyoun

Makhyoun is the president of al-Nour. After Emad Abdel Ghafour’s defection in January 2013, he was elected to the post in an uncontested race. Prior to this role, Makhyoun served as al-Nour’s representative in parliament.

Yasser Borhami

Borhami is a co-founder of al-Nour. He graduated in 1992 from the School of Medicine at Alexandria University and specialized in podiatry. In 1999, he graduated from al-Azhar University with a degree in Shariah. He currently serves as the deputy director of al-Da`wa al-Salafiyya (the Salafi Call).

Nader Bakkar

Bakkar is a co-founder and the official spokesperson for al-Nour. He graduated from Alexandria University with a degree in commerce and is studying for an MBA. Prior to his work with al-Nour, he was the executive manager for Andalusia Medical Group.

Yousry Hammad

Hammad was the former official spokesperson for al-Nour. In January 2013 he defected from the party and joined al-Watan as its vice president.
Founded: 26 February 2013

Al-Raya

 

The Raya Party was formed in February 2013 by Sheikh Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, a prominent Salafi sheikh known for his anti-American rhetoric, conservative preaching, and popular appeal. 

Quotable

“We seek to apply Islamic law, but those who don’t want it prefer cabarets, alcohol, dancers, and prostitution, as the implementation of Islamic law will prohibit women to appear naked in movies and on beaches.”

Sheikh Hazem Salah Abu Ismail
Quoted in Egypt Independent 5/29/11

“From a religious viewpoint, the ruler is assigned to make sure that Islamic commandments are respected…The ruler’s role is to ensure that when one walks in the street, he does not see any practices that contradict Islam.”

Sheikh Hazem Salah Abu Ismail
Quoted in Egypt Independent 7/8/11

Platform

Sharia / Legal

  • Advocates a state with a clear and complete Islamic reference.
  • Seeks to increase the scope of Shariah in legislation and in practice.

Social

  • Believes that the poor and the weak are primarily the responsibility of the state.

Women

  • Official platform does not address the topic of women.
  • Abu Ismail has said that all women should eventually be persuaded to wear the hijab as a religious duty.
  • Abu Ismail has been quoted as saying that women should be allowed to attend university and participate in the workforce, but only if they are not married. He also seeks to fully implement the separation of the sexes in the workplace.

Copts

  • Seeks to promote justice between all individuals of society of different religions and classes.
  • Abu Ismail has defended the position that discrimination against Copts in Egypt is not nearly as bad as it is reported to be.

Economic

  • Seeks to harness Egypt’s already existing investment potential and allocate resulting funds in a socially equitable way.

Foreign Policy

  • Abu Ismail has warned against the influence of Western powers, particularly Israel and the United States, on Egypt’s election process.
  • Abu Ismail has referred to the Camp David accords as being “insulting to the Egyptian people.” “It must be cancelled,” he said, “and I will do my best to convince people to cancel it.”

Coalition Participation

Membership

  • Al-Ummah

Commentary

Though it was initially indicated that the Raya Party would align with the breakaway Salafi party al-Watan, it was reported on 9 March 2013 that al-Raya had formed an alliance with six other Islamist parties, including the Reform Party, the Asala Party, the People's Party, the Islamic Party, the Fadila Party, and the New Labor Party.

Key Figures

Sheikh Hazem Salah Abu Ismail

Abu Ismail, the son of a prominent al-Azhar scholar and Muslim Brotherhood member, was deeply involved in politics both in secondary school and at Cairo University, where he graduated with a degree in law in 1982. He then earned a Master’s degree in forensic science from the University of Bruxelles in 1987 and a Ph.D. in research management from the University of Seattle in 1990. In 1995, he ran in Egyptian parliamentary elections but was eliminated in the runoff round. He ran again in 2005 and once again lost to a candidate from Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic Party in elections that were widely believed to be rigged. Up until the 25 January revolution, Abu Ismail remained a fierce critic of the Mubarak regime and maintained a strong popular following through his weekly sermons at Asad Ibn al-Forat Mosque. An early supporter of the Egyptian revolution, Abu Ismail was also a staunch critic of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) both during and after the revolution. Recently, he is most known for his attempt to run in the 2012 presidential elections; he was disqualified when it was discovered that his mother held American citizenship, which under Egyptian electoral law bars a candidate from running. His disqualification brought thousands of protestors to Tahrir Square in April 2012.