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In Focus: Wasat Party
In Focus: Wasat Party
I do not know why the Party Affairs Committee refused to give legal license to Al-Wasat Party. The reasons for the decision were not convincing at all.
Saturday, September 12,2009 01:36
Daily News Egypt

I do not know why the Party Affairs Committee refused to give legal license to Al-Wasat Party. The reasons for the decision were not convincing at all. The announced reason behind the rejection is that Al-Wasat’s program offers nothing new to the political arena in Egypt.

However, there were hidden reasons behind the decision. Since 1996, the party founders have applied four times to obtain the right to form a party, but all their requests were rejected.

The real reason behind rejecting Al-Wasat Party is that the Egyptian regime still insists on excluding all moderate Islamists from the political scene, and it still depends on the security approach in dealing with all Islamists without distinction whether they are extremists or moderates.

Theoretically speaking, Egypt has about 24 parties whose names Egyptians do not even know, nor do they know who their leaders are, except for the four major ones: the National Democratic Party, Al-Wafd, Al-Taggammu and the Arab Party; as well as the two new parties, of Al-Ghad, which split after its leader Ayman Nour was imprisoned, and the Democratic Front Party, whose leader Osama Al-Ghazali Harb tried to build on sound political foundations.

It is unfair to have all liberal, nationalist, and Nasserite currents represented, while there is no legitimate or legal representation of the Islamist trend. There was hope that Al-Wasat would represent and lead this trend, but the regime insisted on excluding it too.

It would be naive to say that Al-Wasat’s program does not offer anything different from the existing parties, since it provides progressive political and religious ideas. It differs radically from the Muslim Brotherhood, which is still struggling between its political and religious roles.

The question is, is the regime so afraid of Al-Wasat to the extent of denying it a license?

This is definitely untrue.

The regime has an excellent ability to destroy parties from the inside, as it has done to many parties, such as Al-Ahrar, Al-Wafd and Al-Ghad. Thus, the regime can easily command, control and monitor Al-Wasat and its members.

Hence I believe that there are three main reasons for rejecting Al-Wasat Party. The first reason is that there is a structural problem in the Egyptian official mentality with regard to dealing with Islamists in general. As I said before, the decision-makers see this issue as a threat to Egypt’s national security and should not be tolerated by any means.

The second reason is that the regime fears that Abul-Ela Madi, the party’s founder, and his co-founder Essam Sultan, are just a façade for the Muslim Brotherhood; and after obtaining the license, the Muslim Brotherhood will jump in and control it either from above or down through penetration via membership.

This claim is illogical, not only because of the strong disagreement between Abul-Ela Madi and the Muslim Brotherhood, as the relation between them has reached a deadlock, but also because of the structural differences between the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood and the ideas of Al-Wasat.

The third reason is that the regime fears that Al-Wasat would be the real alternative to the ruling National Democratic Party and that it would attract political and popular figures who may ask to share power or to play as the main opposition in parliament.

In short, rejecting the establishment of Al-Wasat is a veiled message to all Islamists that they are unwelcome in this country, something which could lead to disaster in the future.

tags: Wasat party / Party Affairs Committee / Modern islamist / Moderate Muslim Brotherhood / Democracy / Khalil Al-anani
Posted in Islamic Movements  
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