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Who is responsible for the disbanding of the national partnership?

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Farid Zahran

Farid Zahran

I have no problem with replacing the 30 June alliance term with the national partnership. Recently, I have used the term 30 June alliance to refer to the alliance formed between the old state supporters, the democratic entities and the army. This alliance went through many stages and attacks leading me to believe that it has been broken.

Currently, there are people within democratic entities who are calling for support for presidential candidate Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi as it is our national duty to create an alliance with him. This is a very important discussion.  We need to figure out the reasons behind the falling of ­­ the 30 June alliance. Finding out the reason is important not to blame or accuse anyone, but to prevent the falling of any future alliances.

This alliance began to form during the preparation for 30 June when it became apparent that the democrats of the National Salvation Front were leading the resistance against the Muslim Brotherhood. The old state supporters were careful to lay low at that time and leave the democrats at the forefront of the political scene.

After the 30 June protests, the alliance was summed up in the road map document announced by Al-Sisi, with the democrats still at the lead. Despite the international attack on Egypt, it would have suffered much more if it weren’t for the involvement of the democrats. Mohamed ElBaradei’s resignation as the interim vice president for international relations hurt the alliance and led the old state supporters to attack the democrats even more. The old state supporters were also successful in steering the country towards a more oppressive country. They were successful in passing the Protest Law. In addition, random arrests and prison torture drastically increased according to a report by the National Council for Human Rights. They were also successful in conducting a campaign against political parties and the 25 January Revolution.  Finally, they were able to topple the government of former prime minister Hazem El-Beblawi.

We pressured  El-Beblawi and Ziad Bahaa El-Din, Minister of International Cooperation, into accepting their positions in the cabinet. When the government made some unfavourable decisions, we insisted that El-Din remain in his post even though he considered resigning many times. We understood that an alliance did not mean sharing the same opinion.

We never sought the breaking up of the alliance. Recently, during the Engineers Union elections, we chose to keep the alliance going and the candidates of the democrats and old state supporters were all on the same list.

Al-Sisi has always been a major partner in this alliance and, therefore, whatever steps taken towards an oppressive state was done with his knowledge – if not his blessing – which is a worrying factor. However, this does not prevent us from trying to keep the alliance going and trying to build on it. The first step is to conduct a debate with Al-Sisi given that he is the candidate that has the support of the old regime and the military institution. Up until now, he has not put forth any ideas with which we can interact. We also tried to meet with him many times, but failed every time. He never sought us out – even after we issued a document entitled “The Egyptian Social Democratic Party’s vision for a possible national partnership with the next president”.

The problem is that the next president might not want to create a partnership or keep the alliance going. Some of Al-Sisi’s consultants, some of them well over 90 years of age, candidly declared that Al-Sisi does not need a political programme or a vision. Others say that the reason for people’s trust in Al-Sisi is their trust in the army, even though we all know the danger of involving the army in politics. The question is: Will Al-Sisi want to create a partnership with certain political entities? If so, which entities and what will be the goal of this partnership?

As for the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, we repeatedly announced through statements and practises since 30 June and until now that we are with this alliance despite the constant attacks. Will there be someone on the other side who wants to salvage this alliance before it completely breaks down?

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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