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What are the chances of mergers and alliances inside the democratic movement?

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Farid Zahran

Farid Zahran

In the previous two articles, we surveyed the map of parties and groups inside the Egyptian democratic movement. There were four major directions inside the movement, three of which were already established: liberals, national Nasserites, and leftists. The fourth group is newly-established: the social democrats.

Beginning with the Nasserites: the National Conciliation Party and the People’s Nasserist Conference could not gather the needed authorisations from the people to get licensed. The Arab Democratic Nasserist Party is witnessing major divisions between Ahmed Hassan and Sameh Ashour’s influences, the Dignity Party lost most of its appeal after its alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood in the past elections and also due to its rejection of Hamdeen Sabahy.

However, despite that, the chances of a merger or an alliance between the Nasserite parties are quite big due to several factors. The first is the popularity and political significance of Sabahy, who can be counted as one of the most important presidential candidates on the scene. The leadership quality of Sabahy could enable him to unite the Nasserite parties to support his presidential candidacy. The second factor is Sameh Ashour, who is quite the charismatic character. Lastly, if Abdel Hakim Abdel Nasser should get involved in establishing a merger or an alliance, this would be an important step, due to his importance as the son of Abdel Nasser.

The main challenge that the Nasserite movement faces is its parties’ lack of popularity compared to that of its figures. In addition, these parties don’t posses any political or organisational abilities. The Arabic Nasserist party couldn’t score any seats in the previous parliamentary elections, while the Dignity party only got six seats via the Muslim Brotherhood lists. The other two parties failed to score any seats on the Revolution Continues lists. Given these factors, the movement has to achieve some sort of alliance, not only amongst its own parties, but maybe with another political group, such as the leftist movement.

This is because the movement, unlike other national movements in other countries, is not a right-wing one, but is more of a popular, leftist one like Peronism, the Argentinean political movement.  Clashes could occur between the national popular movement and the radical left, but it still remains a leftist group. It is also quite normal for the movement to seek other nationalistic groups with the intent of forming an alliance. Therefore, the former alliance of the Dignity party with the Muslim Brotherhood was not viewed as strange. We expect, then, the movement to form an alliance with the traditional leftist parties, and it might be the only reason for the traditional leftists to join the political scene.

The political map of the traditional leftist movement confirms that its crisis is not that different from the Nasserite one. The movement lost a lot of its credibility due to some claims concerning deals with the Mubarak regime before the 25 January Revolution. The movement refused to withdraw from the 2010 parliamentary elections, which was rejected by most political parties due to the amount of forgery that was documented in these elections. The movement also refused to participate in the 25 January protests because they fell on Police Day. Afterwards, some of the movement’s members left it and formed the Socialist People’s Alliance Party, which was promising at first, but then many of its leaders also left, causing a major political crisis for it.

As for the other leftist groups such as the Socialist Party and the Revolutionary Socialists, even though they have considerable organisational and political power to attract the youth, their political electoral presence on the scene is not noticeable outside of a leftist alliance.

What about the liberal and social democratic groups, are there any possible alliances between them? This will be the next article.

About the author

Farid Zahran

Farid Zahran is a publisher and writer. He is the co-founder of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party


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