FJP Leader Urges Egyptian Islamists Practice Politics and “Rationalize” Their Discourse
Secretary General of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Saad El-Katatny criticized the political discourse of some Islamic groups currently on the scene, saying that it needs to be rationalized, so that the vocabulary used becomes political, not religious. He went on to point that some factions of the Islamic trend in the arena have not experienced much politics, and they were more busy with disseminating the Islamic teachings and preaching before the revolution.
In an interview with Masrawy website about the current political developments in Egypt, Katatny stressed that under the current circumstances of this critical transitional period in the country, it became inevitable to call for coordination among the various political parties, so as to reach a compromise towards the formulation of the next parliament, without any sort of conflict with the specific identity of each political party.
The following are translated excerpts from the interview published last August 28:
Masrawy: Should not the coordination between the Muslim Brotherhood group and the FJP in the next parliamentary elections be seen as a contradiction with the principle of separation between the Party and the Group?
Katatny: The separation between the two entities (the Party and the Group) in the administrative and regulatory framework exists, but the Muslim Brotherhood is a powerful, popular and well-organized element on the Egyptian arena, which no one could claim that it is not significant, and the Brotherhood has a lot of experience in the management of the electoral process, not to mention that the group is the founder of the Freedom and Justice Party. Therefore, coordination between the Party and the Group will be in the process of building up for the election, starting from organizing the people who will stand at the polling stations, as well as supplying the party with people able to protect the electoral process, which means that we should benefit from the social presence of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Any party would definitely seek to have a social lever to support it, and we are the party that is established by the Muslim Brotherhood; therefore, it is natural that we use the group’s backing in the elections. Yet, the group will not affect our decisions as a party.
Masrawy: What are the means of escalation that could be taken by the FJP in case of approving the supra-constitutional principles?
Katatny: In the case of a new constitutional declaration that includes the supra-constitutional principles, we will study the matter with all parties to respond to that. Yet, because of my experience and my contacts with various citizens as a former member of parliament, I expect that the vast majority of the people will reject these so-called supra-constitutional principles. Moreover, we pointed our reservation to the term "supra-constitutional" because there is no document higher than the Constitution, where the Constitution is made by the people, and given to the people with their own free will and consent.
Masrawy: What is the position of the Freedom and Justice Party regarding the potential candidates for the presidency?
Katatny: Till this day, the party did not specify its position yet, and within the party, we agreed that there is no candidate from our side in the upcoming presidential election. For the issue of supporting a particular candidate, this is quite premature, because we expect that after the parliamentary elections and determining the system of the State, it is possible that there would be new candidates emerging and some decline or fading out of other current candidates.
Masrawy: What criteria through which the FJP will determine which particular candidate it will support?
Katatny: He has to be a statesman, with political experience and vision, and he should preferably be an independent person, having no party affiliation. Egypt is a big country and it needs a state figure to match its size who would help building it; someone who can lead the transition towards building a modern Egypt, which enjoys a democracy and has a sufficiency of resources to ensure its independence.
Masrawy: Is it possible that the Freedom and Justice Party would support a candidate with a military background?
Katatny: No, because we have reservations against having a candidate from the military. In fact, we want a candidate with a civilian – not a military – reference.
Masrawy: What about the argument spreading on the scene and claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood is pushing for or supporting Dr. Mohamed Selim Al-Awa to reduce the chances of Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh to win the presidential election?
Katatny: This is not true; Dr. Selim Al-Awa is an independent person and cannot be used as a pressure card in the elections.
Masrawy: So, what would force the Muslim Brotherhood to point that it has a particular candidate?
Katatny: That issue was settled by the group as it stated that there is no candidate for the presidency from the Brotherhood, because the next stage needs that we have a consensus for a candidate, and the Brotherhood is not nominating a candidate in order to avoid controversy that could happen in the case of the nomination of a candidate from the Brotherhood. Therefore, we prefer to see the next candidate for presidency coming away from the political parties so that he would enjoy consensus.
Masrawy: What about the possibility of having the FJP supporting Dr. Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh in the presidential election?
Katatny: There is no possibility whatsoever to support Abul Fotouh. This decision was made by the Muslim Brotherhood before founding of the FJP, and therefore, we are committed to it. We are not supporting Dr. Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh because he violated the group’s decision that none of its members would run for the presidential election.