Friday 7 October 2011

CAIRO: Egypt’s leading liberal party Wafd has scrapped an electoral alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest political force, because it wants to field more candidates than the tie-up would have allowed, said a senior Wafd official.

The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the Brotherhood’s political wing, and Wafd led an alliance of 34 parties from across the political spectrum that planned to coordinate on lists of candidates for the first elections since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted from office in a popular uprising.

“The party’s higher committee unanimously decided to contest elections in a separate list and member parties of the alliance should choose to join either (the FJP or Wafd) lists,” Essam Sheha, member of Wafd’s higher committee, told Reuters.

Egyptian politics were dominated for decades by Mubarak’s now defunct National Democratic Party which was widely accused of ballot stuffing, vote buying and intimidation.

The well-organized Brotherhood was banned from formal politics but fielded candidates as independents.

Fourteen Liberal and Leftist groups have formed a coalition called the “Egyptian Bloc” calling for a civil state in which the principles of Shariah are the main source of legislation.

Sheha denied that the decision to quit the electoral alliance was based on an ideological dispute. “We withdrew from the electoral alliance because we had a lot of candidates and the available places in the list weren’t enough,” he said.

Cooperation with the Brotherhood would continue in other areas, he said, and a meeting of the alliance would take place on Saturday.

Egypt’s military ruler, meanwhile, said the country is going through a critical period, particularly on the security and economic fronts, and urges unity to achieve a democratic state under civilian rule.

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi said in a televised speech Thursday disagreements and mistrust have plagued the period following the uprising that forced former President Hosni Mubarak to step down in February.

Source: Arab News.

Link: http://www.arabnews.com/node/393720.

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