The chamber of political parties’ affairs at the High Administrative Court postponed Saturday a lawsuit demanding the dissolution of the Salafi Al-Nour Party to 21 February, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) reported.
The lawsuit stipulated that the party was founded on religious grounds violating Article 74 of the constitution, which forbids the establishment of political parties on religious bases, or parties with a militant nature, or “parties with anti-democratic or secret activities”.
This is not the first lawsuit of its kind, as the “Popular Front to fight the Brotherhood-isation” of Egypt also filed a similar lawsuit to the Alexandria Court for Urgent Matters.
In November, the court rejected the lawsuit on the grounds that it was not specialised to look into it. However, Mohamed Saad, the founder of the group, told Daily News Egypt Saturday that they have appealed the decision before the appeals branch of the same court, and are expecting a court hearing early February.
“Al-Nour Party claims that their programme is based on a civil approach to politics, but the party and its leaders have a very radical religious ideology and have collaborated with the Muslim Brotherhood regime,” Saad explained.
Nonetheless, the party’s president Younes Makhioun attended a meeting with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi last Monday, in which they discussed with other party leaders their vision for the next parliament.
“This leaves question marks around the presidency’s attitude,” Saad commented, adding that banning religious parties falls under the ‘postponed’ crucial files that the state ought to take a decision in.
Saad, who said he was going to run as a candidate in the parliamentary elections, for which voting is scheduled to start in March, stated that if elected he intends to appeal the political presence of Al-Nour Party, which would “jeopardise the legitimacy of the entire parliament and could be the cause of dissolution”.
While Al-Nour Party leaders were unavailable for immediate comment, the party has announced its intention to run for parliamentary seats. Furthermore, the party has a strong presence in the city of Alexandria, where Saad intends to run as a candidate.
Secretary General of the party Galal Morra held a meeting last week to discuss how the party will handle electoral candidates, among other preparations for the elections, Al-Nour reported on their official Facebook account on 14 January.
On a further note, Makhioun said in press statements reported by state-run newspaper Al-Ahram Saturday that Al-Sisi said he would back a united political coalition to run for parliament, provided that all parties are included. Meanwhile, political parties decided to meet under the sponsorship of the Al-Wafd Party to discuss possibly merging, however refusing to include Al-Nour.
“There are almost eight political parties based on religious grounds that are still present in the scene,” said Saad.
Since the removal of Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, the state tightened security on Islamists, first by jailing most Brotherhood leaders including Morsi, former supreme guide Mohamed Badie, main Brotherhood leaders such as Khairat Al-Shater, Mohamed Al-Beltagy, and many others.
This was accompanied by a court decision to categorize the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation on 25 December 2013, and a ban on the activities of the Brotherhood’s FJP, and the affiliated National Coalition to Support Legitimacy, also known as the Anti-Coup Alliance.
On 18 December, a court ruling rejected an appeal on a verdict banning the activities of the coalition and its political wing, Al-Istiqlal Party, of which chairman and journalist Magdy Hussein is imprisoned.
Other parties, such as Al-Wasat and Al-Watan, had withdrawn from the coalition, hoping to be re-included in the political scene.
The court is set to look into an appeal on the FJP verdict on 21 February as well.