Nour Party wants to be “maestro” between political factions: Nader Bakar
Nader Bakar - YOUM7/Maher Malak
By EHAB EL-SHAZLY

CAIRO: Nour Party endeavors to play the role of a “maestro” between political factions during the upcoming period, assistant chairperson of the party Nader Bakar said Thursday.

The upcoming parliament would “probably” not have a partisan majority, Bakar claimed during a call to CBC TV channel and that it was hard to predict the percentages for each party because of “frequent changes in society.”

“There is a possibility that trust in Ibrahim Mahlab government’s will be renewed after the parliamentary elections, provided he proves he is up to the challenge. We seek cooperation with everyone to build the state,” Bakar said.

The Salafist Nour Party was founded on May 12, 2011, after the January 25 Revolution under then-ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF).

The party’s political positions and stances after the revolution – under SCAF’s rule, Mohamed Morsi’s rule, and after June 30 – raised controversy. While some argue the party showed political maturity and shrewdness; others attacked it as wishy-washy, “treacherous,” and irresolute.

The party participated in the 2012 Shura Council elections, which had largely been boycotted by the majority of voters and political factions that supported the January 25 Revolution, which the party claimed to have participated and supported.

According to the Supreme Electoral Commission, voter turnout for the Shura Council elections did not exceed 10 percent. Nevertheless, the party managed to win the second largest number of seats, after the Muslim Brotherhood, in both parliament and the Shura Council.

Another controversial stance came on Dec.16, 2011, following the clashes between protesters and military police outside the Cabinet, when former Nour Party head Emad Abdel Ghaffour denounced the “brutal” force that security forces used against the protesters but also condemned the protesters for obstructing public life and continuing their sit-in.

The 2012 presidential elections heralded a turning point in the relations between the Nour Party and SCAF.

The Muslim Brotherhood and Nour Party called for protests in Tahrir Square in June, 2012 against the constitutional declaration issued by the ruling SCAF.

“The military council is practicing political thuggery, it is using the judiciary to obliterate the revolution,” Egypt Independent newspaper quoted party head Younis Makhyoun as saying on June 20, 2012.

Although the party supported Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in many of their initiatives, the party was quick to turn on them after June 30.

The party joined the Egyptian Constituent Assembly of 2012, formed by ousted Mohamed Morsi and tasked to draft the 2012 constitution. They managed to push through Article 219, stipulating that Sunni Islam – its main categories of evidence, jurisprudential and substantive law principles, and its recognized sources – constituted the basis of Sharia law, complimenting Article 2, which specified Sharia as the principal source of legislation in the country.

The assembly had been boycotted by many parties who claimed it did not fairly represent the different societal factions and was dominated by Islamists.

The party also released a statement on Aug. 12, 2012 supporting Morsi’s decision to dismiss SCAF’s head Mohamed Hussein Tantawi and his replacement with Minister of Defense Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

Morsi’s controversial presidential declaration, that was issued on Nov. 22, 2012, granted him immunity against judicial authorities and dismissed the Attorney General, causing uproar against Morsi and his regime. Yet Nour Party supported Morsi’s decision and joined pro-protests, according to Al-Ahram newspaper.

Despite having sided with the then-ruling Brotherhood and their different political decisions and stances, the party supported the June 30 events that ultimately led to Morsi’s ousting. It also participated in the military backed 2013 roadmap.

The party then joined the 50-member committee tasked to amend the 2012 constitution, but failed to prevent the removal of Article 219 from the constitution, which they had vehemently pushed for under Morsi.

In a Dec. 5 press conference, the party announced they would vote yes to the 2013 draft constitution and called on citizens to vote yes. “Any constitution would not completely satisfy us because it is a human product in the end,” Bakar said, adding that the Supreme Constitutional Court’s interpretation of Sharia was “a good alternative to the abolished Article 219.”

According to Al-Watan newspaper the Muslim Brotherhood launched a campaign on Dec. 17 against Nour Party for supporting the constitutional referendum.

Spokesperson of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party Hamza Zaouba attacked Nader Bakar and the Nour Party on his personal Twitter account on Dec. 6, describing them as “traitors.”

In light of nearing presidential elections, a party insider told Youm7 on Feb. 14 that “the criteria set by the party for choosing the appropriate candidate apply to Field Marshal Abdel Fatah al-Sisi who has not announced his run yet.”

On Dec. 9 MENA news agency had reported that Salah Abdel Maaboud, a top party member, had stated that Nour Party was against any Islamist candidate in light of the failure of Morsi’s rule.

The party is preparing its candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections to win the largest number of seats possible, Sameh Abdel Hamid, a party leader told Youm7 on Feb. 23.

Additional reporting by Samir Hosni, Raafat Ibrahim, and Kamel Kamel.

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