THE LEVANT – Egypt’s Salafist Al-Nour Party does not intend to join any political alliance ahead of parliamentary elections set to be held later this year, party leader Younes Makhioun told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“The Nour Party is among the most powerful parties currently present on the Egyptian scene. Talk about it being isolated by the [electoral] alliances is a slur [on the party,]” the Salafist leader said.
The Salafist Nour party won the second largest number of seats at the last parliamentary elections, after the Muslim Brotherhood’s now outlawed Freedom and Justice Party, but Egypt’s political scene has changed significantly following the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi and election of strongman Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.
Several party leaders and politicians in Egypt have rejected allying with the Islamist party, claiming that its Salafist identity violates a constitutional article banning the existence of political parties based on religious grounds. The Salafist party had split with Islamist ally the Muslim Brotherhood, supporting the military’s ouster of former president Mursi.
A number of new electoral alliances have emerged ahead of the parliamentary elections scheduled for later this year. These parliamentary elections represent the third and final step in the political roadmap announced following Mursi’s ouster.
Egypt’s left-wing parties have largely united within the Umma Alliance, led by veteran Egyptian politician Amr Moussa. The alliance includes the secularist Congress Party, the left-wing Tagammu (Rally) Party and a number of independent politicians who had been chosen to participate in the drafting of Egypt’s new constitution.
Former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahy heads the Democratic Alliance for Civil Forces which includes the Dignity Party, the Constitution Party and the Socialist Popular Alliance Party, among others.
Makhioun dismissed claims that the Salafist Nour party is unconstitutional. He said that such accusations “do not deserve a response,” adding that the Nour Party is ‘for all Egyptians and not based on religion.”
The Salafist party leader accused the current electoral alliances of “exercising political isolation [against opponents],” adding that “this is the same practice they condemned the Muslim Brotherhood for.