By Tamim Elyan
CAIRO: At a conference celebrating its recognition by the political parties committee, the Free Egyptians Party (FEP) launched a fierce criticism of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and its Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) accusing them of “political fraud, lack of political astuteness and helplessness.”
The party’s leaders condemned what they considered “inciting violence” against the party’s founder, Naguib Sawiris, by the chairman of the FJP, Mohamed Morsi, and called on the group to adopt a unifying political discourse that respects Christians rather than a “Friday prayer style religious sermon.”
“The MB’s attack on the Free Egyptians Party reflects their panic about our success in such a short time,” said Mohamed Hamed, a founding member of the party and member of its political bureau.
The FJP’s Morsi attacked Sawiris in a public meeting in Mansoura after the latter shared a cartoon of a bearded and veiled Mickey and Minnie on his twitter account, that many considered insulting. Morsi called Sawiris and the FEP “a failure.”
Morsi said that Sawiris and his party were the remnants of the ousted regime and called on people to boycott Sawiris’ enterprises.
“The MB used to exploit the corruption of the old regime to appear as the reformers … but we are talking about detailed and clear programs,” Hamed said.
“We hoped that the revolution would get rid of these currents along with the regime so we can build a political system not based on religious guardianship,” he added.
The FEP was officially recognized by the parties’ committee on Tuesday.
Sawiris is the main founder and funder of the party.
The party currently has 35,000 members and is planning to contest over 50 percent of the seats in the People’s Assembly.
“We expect to get two thirds of the seats in parliament along with other liberal parties that share our ideas and values and we will be leading the liberal bloc,” said Basel Adel, member of the party’s political bureau.
“We will field experienced as well as young candidates,” he added.
However, the party said that they refuse to enter the Democratic Alliance Coalition — comprising parties from across the political spectrum to compete in a unified roster — and that they will “coordinate” with other liberal parties.
“The Democratic Alliance is going against voters’ will and distributing seats without giving people any choice and we refuse to be a part of that,” said Rawy Tweig, deputy executive director of the party.
Hani Sarei El-Din, party leader and member of the political bureau, said that they spent LE 8 million so far, 90 percent of which came from donations from party members, and that they will start collecting membership fees this week.
The party emphasized its call for a civil state where all citizens have the right to practice religion freely and which separates between politics and religion refusing any guardianship over peoples’ personal freedoms in the name of religion.
“The religious stream’s popularity stems from the popularity of religion among the people; but they are far from the correct understanding of Islam,” Hamed said.
Speakers also said that they want to keep the second article of the constitution, identifying Islam as the state’s religion and the principles of Sharia as the main source for legislation while putting legal guarantees to prevent its abuse.
The party presented its economic program favoring a market economy to achieve social justice and one that provides equal chances and rewards based on productivity.
It also included adopting national projects and supporting small and medium projects that would provide jobs, applying health and social insurance programs and improving the investment environment to restore Arab and foreign investments.