Islamist political parties remain unclear on elections stance
Nader Bakar - YOUM7/Maher Malak
By MUHAMMAD GHAMRAWY

CAIRO: Egypt’s Islamist political parties remain unclear regarding their stance on the upcoming presidential elections May 26 and 27, according to representative interviews with The Cairo Post.

Representatives from the Al-Watan Party, Al-Wasat Party and the Building and Development Party said they have not yet decided their stance, or whether they will back a candidate. The two candidates in the race are former Defense Minister Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Hamdeen Sabbahi.

Spokesperson of the Al-Wasat Party Amr Farouk ascribed the delay in announcing a stance to the continuity of the political crisis in Egypt since the ouster of Mohamed Morsi last July 3.

“The political climate has not changed yet,” Farouk told The Cairo Post.

The political parties that promoted the political roadmap after Morsi’s ouster are the same people who exposed the interim government’s violations and now slam the current regime, he added.

The political Islam-leaning Al-Wasat Party continues to refuse to recognize the roadmap, and calls the military ouster of Morsi  a “coup,” he said.

Farouk said the solution for the current crisis exists in three stages. The first stage is to provide a political solution by tackling the deep political split that appeared after June 30, he said. The second is to provide a climate of freedom by releasing all detainees, reopening the newspapers and media outlets that were closed after June 30, and respecting human rights, he said.

The third is to provide guarantees for legitimacy of the presidential elections by allowing international and local committees to oversee the elections, he said. The limited number of candidates represents lack of faith among the public regarding the elections, he added.

The High Presidential Elections Committee has closed the window for receiving candidate endorsements, announcing the only two candidates as Sisi and Nasserist politician Sabbahi. It will announce the final list on May 2 after considering appeals submitted by other candidates.

Meanwhile, the Salafist Al-Nour Party said it will meet with the two candidates this week to determine which candidate it will support according to party criteria.

“The party will announce its stance in a press conference after meeting the two candidates,” spokesperson of the Al-Nour Party Nader Bakkar told The Cairo Post.

The political arm of Al-Gama’a Islamiyya, the Building and Development Party, has announced the majority of its party members tend toward boycotting the elections, but a final decision has not been identified yet, spokesperson Ahmed al-Iskandarani told Youm7.

The party stated on March 29 that Egypt does not need another presidential election, and that this election will only increase existing polarization between Egyptians, particularly since many still view Morsi as “the legitimate president.”

They also said in a statement to Youm7 that Sisi running for president will only lead to more complexity in the political scene.

Additional reporting by Kamel Kamel.

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