The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

New political parties/forces in Egypt

I'm traveling right now (in Saudi Arabia--more on that later) and I forgot to link to the story I did earlier this week for The World, looking at some new political force and parties emerging in Egypt now. The list is long these days, but I spoke with El Wasat -- a moderate offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood which has actually been trying to get approved as a party for 15 years. Because its case was in court during the revolution, and a judge ruled it its favour immediately after, it is actually the first new licensed party in the country. The Brotherhood is also forming a party, of course, as are young Islamists affiliated with it but who are more liberal than the leadership. 

I also checked in with the 6 of April movement, which was a force behind the revolution and has decided that rather than be a political party it wants to see political action groups and lobby groups legalized in Egypt, so it can mobilize around particular causes or candidate but not adopt a particular political ideology (the movement has looked at groups like and AIPAC as organizational models). 

There are also several new liberal parties being formed, notably the Free Egyptians party of liberal Coptic business tycoon Naguib Sawiris, whose members include writer/editor Gamal El-Ghitany and scientist Farouk El-Baz, and the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, which is home to many of the young activists who helped plan the revolution and who are close to Mohammed El Baradei's coalition (and already had its first drama when left-wing darling and political analyst Amr Hamzawy joined then quit days after in an apparent snit over the wording of a party statement).