By Tamim Elyan
CAIRO: Al-Wafd opposition party announced Tuesday the formation of a shadow government to be headed by Ali Al-Selamy, member of the party’s supreme executive body and assistant to its chairman, as an alternative to the ruling National Democratic Party’s (NDP) government.
Al-Wafd’s shadow government, comprising 29 ministries headed by technocrats from within the party, is set to hold its first meeting on Thursday.
“We announced the formation of our shadow government before the elections to send a message to the NDP that they aren’t alone and that Al-Wafd is ready with its government if it wins a majority in the upcoming elections,” Al-Selamy said at a press conference.
Al-Wafd has fielded 207 candidates to contest as many seats of the 508 seats in this Nov. 28 elections. The NDP has fielded about 800 candidates.
“We don’t seek media propaganda or temporary hype, but we want to present programs and solutions,” Al-Selamy added.
The purpose of Al-Wafd’s shadow government, according to Al-Selamy, is to monitor and evaluate the performance of the existing government, and presenting legislation that will solve various problems that the country now faces.
“We aren’t in a battle with the NDP’s government,” Al-Selamy said. “We want to cooperate with them — and work together, if possible — to achieve better results. Fortunately, signs of potential support have been demonstrated by Minister of Finance Youssef Boutros-Ghali.”
The shadow government will also provide Al-Wafd’s representatives in the People’s Assembly and Shoura Council with technical support, and will give legislative recommendations to MPs that they can utilize when presenting potential new laws to the parliament.
Al-Selamy said the shadow government will not face any difficulties in accessing governmental data, but added that it will indeed lack any executive authorities that will put its decisions into effect.
The “alternative government” would witness the establishment of new ministries like the Ministry of Sinai Affairs, the Ministry of Human Rights, the Ministry of Sudan and the Nile Basin, the Ministry of Green Development and Climate Change, the Ministry of Monuments, the Ministry of Human Development, and the Ministry of International Cooperation and Egyptians Abroad.
Discussions are still in place regarding the potential addition of tourism, scientific research and petroleum ministries to Al-Wafd’s alternative government.
Al-Wafd government’s cabinet has several affiliated specialized ministerial committees: the Higher Committee for the Development of Sinai, as well as ministerial committees for fiscal policies, broadcasts, land planning, and food and drug safety.
However, Al-Wafd’s alternative governmental plan did not include the ministries of interior or defense, which Al-Selamy explained was due to the shadow government’s lack of direct access to executive authorities.
Al-Selamy also stated that the party decided to scrap the idea of establishing a Ministry of Religious Endowments, as its establishment would conflict with Al-Wafd’s principles of promoting national unity. Instead, the shadow government will divide the tasks that the Ministry of Religious Endowments would have handled among various other ministries.
Al-Wafd General Secretary Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour is slated to head the Ministry of Economy, Al-Wafd Counselor Bahaa Abo Sha’a will head the Ministry of Justice, famous writer Lamis Gabr is designated to be the Minister of Culture and Civil Development, and ex-Ahly football player Taher Abo Zeid was handed the Ministry of Sports.