Five non-Islamist political parties are discussing a possible merger, a few weeks before the upcoming parliamentary elections.
The Egyptian Socialist Democratic Party, the Free Egyptian Party, Al-Adl Party and Free Egypt Party are currently considering merging into the existing Al-Dostour party, led by leading opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei.
Hany Kourshid, media coordinator of Al-Dostour Party, said negotiations are currently taking place between the five parties. Kourshid said the negotiations are going well, however he denied that a final agreement had been reached. He added that the possible merger might take place before the upcoming parliamentary elections: “The negotiations are to empower the parties against the Islamist groups.”
Ahmed El-Enany, secretary general of youth committee at the Egyptian Socialist Democratic Party, also confirmed the negotiations, denying any final decision regarding the possible merger. “The action is still being negotiated internally, the most important thing now is the parliamentary election.”
El-Enany said the only sure thing is that the five parties would be running for the parliamentary elections on a single list representing the National Salvation Front, the leading opposition bloc: “Our current battle is the parliamentary elections. Afterwards, anything can be considered and discussed.”
Mona Mounir, secretary general of the women’s committee at the Free Egyptian Party, said the five parties are running for parliamentary elections on a united list, however she denied the possibility of a merger action before the end of parliamentary elections.
Mounir explained that her party cannot merge with any other before holding its internal elections, scheduled for February: “Most likely, the merger would be under the name of Al-Dostour Party and under the leadership of ElBaradei, but this is not the final agreement yet.”
Shaheer George, high board member at Free Egypt Party, said the whole thing is only an idea discussed by party heads. He also doubted the possibility of reaching an agreement before the parliamentary elections. George added that the Free Egypt Party is already coordinating with Al-Dostour in many aspects, adding that the most important action is forming a framework that the five parties can work through. “The merger is based on agreement of the parties’ general assemblies, not only their heads.”
Vice-president of Al-Adl Party, Hesham Akram, said the merger would take place after the parliamentary elections. He added that his party is willing to merge under the name of Al-Dostour Party. However, he explained that technical issues and regulations would prevent this from taking place before the elections.