By Reem Abdellatif
CAIRO: political parties Al-Muhafzeen (Conservatives) and Al-Nahda (Renaissance) announced on Wednesday they will unify in order to “strengthen and enhance” their chances in the elections.
Mostafa Abdel-Aziz, former head of the Conservatives, which was founded in 2006, announced that he will be stepping down as president of the party and will relinquish all responsibilities to Al-Nahda president, Akmal Kortam, who is also founder and CEO of Sahara Petroleum Services company.
“I feel that it is only fair I step down now, I’ve given all I can to the party,” said Abdel-Aziz. “When I feel that someone else can give more to the country than me and more to the party, I will be honest and hand over the power.”
Abdel-Aziz added that he would still be a devoted member as well as the editor-in-chief of the party’s newspaper, which is to be launched in the “near future.”
The parties will merge under the Conservatives title, since it’s already an officially registered party. Al-Nahda, was also established in 2006, but the previous regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak did not permit the party to become “official” on the pretext that there were similar parties present on the political scene, said Mohamed Bakr, parliamentary researcher at the Regional Center for Research and Consultancies in Cairo.
According to the party’s list of clauses, the new coalition will attempt to embrace conservative practices while at the same time promoting social democracy and liberal ways of thinking.
While Al-Muhafzeen will remain conservative and committed to the ideals of the Egyptian core values and family traditions, Kortam said they will not ever “succumb to being a police state again.”
“All Egyptians, regardless of their social status deserve respect,” Kortam said. “The kind of treatment that citizens witnessed before in police stations before or anywhere else from the government will not be accepted.”
The party announced that from now on, they will have 10 chosen members in the higher council, while the rest will be elected by party members. So far, it has 1,157 founding members across several governorates.
“Presidents of the party or members of the higher council must be Egyptians bearing no other nationalities, as they may be voted to represent the party in presidential elections in the future,” said Khaled Azab Hendy, founding member from Cairo.
Egyptians with dual nationalities can, however, be active members of the party.
“An Egyptian who lives on the ground knows more about what we go through day to day in the country,” Hendy added. “This is not to say that an Egyptian living abroad is lesser than a local, it’s just that Egyptians living here know our concerns, fears, and tribulations.”
Kortam, head of the new coalation, is also the chairman of Sahara oil and gas and Valve and Tolls.
He studied at the College of Engineering, specializing in the fields of Petroleum and mining and graduated in 1980. Currently, he is one of the most prominent entrepreneurs in the oil field in the Middle East Region.
Kortam accepted the position from Abdelaziz, vowing to take the party where it needs to be while serving the country by implementing “real change.”