Egypt opposition needs time, or Islamists will win – party

February 14, 2011
clean egypt

(Opposition supporters clean up Tahrir Square in Cairo, February 13, 2011/Dylan Martinez)

The Muslim Brotherhood will be the only group in Egypt ready for a parliamentary election unless others are given a year or more to recover from years of oppression, said a former Brotherhood politician seeking to found his own party.

Abou Elela Mady broke away from the Brotherhood in the 1990s. He tried four times to get approval for his Wasat Party (Center Party) under President Hosni Mubarak’s rule, but curbs on political life prevented him doing so.

“They turned political life into a farce,” said Mady, who likens the ideology of his party to that of Turkey’s ruling AK Party, which has roots in political Islam but appeals to a wider electorate including more secular middle class elements as well as religious conservatives.

After 15 years of trying, Mady hopes the Wasat Party will finally come into being on Saturday, when a court is scheduled to rule on an appeal marking the latest round of his battle with the Egyptian authorities.

“If parliamentary elections happen now, the only party ready are the Muslim Brotherhood. As for the rest, they are not,” Mady said. “We have had dialogue with all the parties. We ask for a transitional period for a year in which there is freedom for parties and organisations,” he said. Mubarak’s administration used tools including emergency laws to suppress politics. The officially-recognized opposition parties have little support.

pRead the full story by Tom Perry here.

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