By Heba Hesham
CAIRO: A group of revolutionary powers and political parties formed Monday the Egyptian Revolutionary Council, billed as a final attempt to unite and work towards achieving unmet demands.
“We sensed the danger of dispersion among revolutionary powers so we held various meetings to establish a unified entity that will be the one hand [working to] achieve the goals of the revolution, which are being assassinated every day,” said Ayman Nour, presidential hopeful and head of Ghad El-Thawra Party, which hosted the conference announcing the launch of the council.
The council will integrate its efforts with similar initiatives launched previously to unite Egypt’s revolutionary forces.
The past weeks saw amplified calls to unify revolutionaries. One attempt was spearheaded by Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, who recently dropped out of the presidential race in protest of the ruling military council’s performance during the transition period.
Dubbed the Group of 50, the initiative gathered activists to discuss the formation of a unified entity.
The difference between the two, according to activist Ramy Shaath who is participating in both, is that the “council mostly gathers parties, coalitions and movements, while ElBaradei’s Group of 50 comprises political activists and public figures. The structure will be different.”
As long as there is consensus on the principles of both, he said, they will coordinate.
Mohamed Sharaf, leading member of the Kefaya movement, said a number of similar initiatives failed to achieve their preset goals.
“To avoid that, we decided to agree on a constitutive statement that defines our sole primary goal, which is continuing the revolution,” he said.
General Secretary of the Reform and Development Party, Ihab El-Kholy, said that to guarantee the council does not stray from its goal, it will link with social programs that serve the poor, as the main demand of the revolution was to achieve social justice.
Nour confirmed that there is coordination with actor Mohamed Sobhi on his slums development project.
Meanwhile, Shady El-Ghazaly Harb, head of the Awareness Party and member of the Revolution Youth Coalition, said the council has set criteria to govern the admittance of parties and movements, to avoid the participation of non-revolutionary forces.
“Among these standards, the entity should believe in the principles of the revolution, whether its stances are in accordance with the goals, and its level of participation in revolutionary events. Also, it should not have any relation with or comprise any member of the dissolved National Democratic Party,” he said.
Harb said participating entities will be frequently evaluated as will their commitment to the principles of the council.
The main forces in the council, according to Tarek El-Kholy of the April 6 Youth Movement (the Democratic Front), include the Ghad El-Thawra Party, the Kefaya Movement for Change, Revolution Youth Coalition, Maspero Youth Union, Egyptian Women for Change, the National Union for Egypt’s Workers, the Egyptian Socialist Party, the Democratic Front Party along with April 6, among others.
Nour stressed that although the council welcomes the participation of all streams, he denied former reports about coordinating with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP).
“I said that we are coordinating with Youth for Justice and Freedom Movement but it was mistakenly heard as the FJP,” he said.
Shaath said the movements and parties that make up the council agree that the objectives and demands of the revolution have not yet been met; therefore, the revolution will continue until they are.
“The only option for all revolutionary forces is to unite for a sole target, expressing their willingness to sacrifice [partisan identities] as evidence of the sincerity of their intentions,” according to the council’s statement read out by Shaath.
The statement added that this initiative allows any entity compatible with its principles to work within its framework, pointing out that their delay in joining the council will not detract its executive rights.
“There will be a board of trustees, with 20 percent of this board from public figures who participated in the revolution. No single person will be the driving force behind the council,” said Mokhtar Noah, lawyer and former senior leader at the MB.