Egypt’s new political alliance

Egypt’s new political alliance
New political coalition of independents is formed in Egypt aiming to represent the "revolution's youth"
5 min read
21 July, 2014
Sisi in his inaugural ceremony [Uncredited/Getty, AP]

Some Egyptian political figures – mostly former Nasserists – have supported the formation of a new political coalition named “25 January - 30 June”, which will take part in parliamentary elections scheduled to be held before the end of 2014.


According to its organisers, the coalition includes a number of independent supporters of both the 25 January 2011 and the 30 June 2013 revolutions, whose goals are not supported by established political parties.


The new coalition includes controversial figures, including former members of parliament Mostafa al-Guindi and Gamal Zahran, engineer Mamdouh Hamza - who played a key role in the 25 January revolution - and Abdul Hakim Abdel Nasser, son of late president Gamal Abdul Nasser.


     The group was launched under the banner: ‘Egypt’s future - from a revolution to a state.’

The group was launched on Sunday 20 July, at the Journalists’ Syndicate in downtown Cairo, under the banner: “Egypt’s future - from a revolution to a state.” The coalition belongs to the Egyptian people, not to any party or president, claimed Guindi. He argued that anyone who talks only about the goals of the 25 January revolution and ignores the so-called “30 June revolution” is a Muslim Brotherhood supporter - and those who speak only about the “30 June revolution” and ignore the 25 January revolution are “remnants of the ousted Mubarak regime”.


Mostafa al-Guindi


Guindi is a businessman and former member of parliament (from 2005 to 2010 and again in 2012) whose political allegiances have been varied. Before the 25 January revolution, he described himself as an independent MP, even though he has repeatedly praised leading figures of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) from the Mubarak era.


The businessman’s close relations with Fathi Sorour, the former speaker of the People’s Assembly, and the secretary of the dissolved NDP, Ahmed Ezz, who is currently being tried on corruption charges, raises many questions about his position as an opposition parliamentarian. It is especially important to consider his allegiances, as he has now been selected as a member of the African Union’s legislative body, the Pan-African Parliament - a position that was previously held exclusively by NDP members.


After the 25 January revolution, Guindi joined the al-Wafd and al-Dostour parties. Al-Wafd is a national liberal party, and al-Dostour unites several political positions. He was also one of the leaders of the National Salvation Front, a coalition of opposition parties that helped oust former President Mohamed Morsi. He resigned from the al-Dostour party after a large sit-in protest held by the party’s youth in January 2013 rejected a number of the party’s leading figures.


Guindi had tried to present himself as a revolutionary politician representing the revolution’s youth. In 2012 he entered parliament as part of “The Revolution Continues Alliance”, which included a number of youth involved in the 2011 revolution, along with some of those who had been vocally critical of the interior ministry and the military leadership.


In February 2012, Guidni withdrew from a parliamentary session when the then-speaker of the People’s Assembly, Saad al-Katatni, banned him from speaking after he objected to comments made by fellow parliamentarian Muhammed Omda. Omda, now in prison after being accused of involvement in the July 2013 clashes between Morsi’s supporters and local residents, had described those who burnt down the tax authority building during the protests against the interior ministry protests as “thugs”. Guindi, meanwhile, was understood to be one of the key financiers and supporters of the Tahrir square sit-in on 30 June 2013 – the popular protest which eventually saw Morsi’s ousting.


Gamal Zahran


Zahran is a professor of political science at the Suez Canal University. He was an opposition MP in 2005, and one of the closest MPs to the Muslim Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc.


However, these relations soured when Zahran launched an unprecedented attack on the Brotherhood after the 30 June 2013 military coup, calling its members and supporters “terrorists and traitors”.


     Hamza has tried unsuccessfully to use the Tahrir sit-ins he funded to establish a civilian presidential council

Since the 25 January 2011 revolution, Zahran has been seeking a political role. Boycotting the 2012 parliamentary elections ostensibly because he thought they should not be held won him considerable attention. After being one of the fiercest attackers of the Military Council’s performance during the first transitional period from Hosni Mubarak’s ousting in February 2011 to the beginning of Morsi’s presidency in June 2012, he has now become a front-line advocate of all the crimes committed by the military since the 2013 military coup.


In the May 2014 presidential elections, Zahran abandoned his leftist Nasserite comrade, Hamdin Sabahi, announcing his support for now-President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, whom he called “the national candidate”. Zahran’s colleague in the new coalition, Abdul Hakim Abdul Nasser, who was one of Sabahi’s most prominent supporters in the 2012 elections, also abandoned his old comrade in favour of Sisi.


Mamdouh Hamza


Hamza, meanwhile, is one of the most contradictory figures to have emerged since the 25 January revolution. Even though he was one of the main financiers of the iconic anti-Mubarak Tahrir Square protests, and the anti-military sit-ins that followed, Hamza maintained a strong relationship with the Military Council and attended most of its meetings at the time.


After the 25 January revolution, Hamza formed and became chairman of what he called “the National Council”, through which he proposed a draft constitution guaranteeing that the Military Council would protect the civil state.


On several occasions, Hamza has tried unsuccessfully to use the Tahrir sit-ins he funded to establish a civilian presidential council – of which he would, naturally, be a member.


Hamza has been one of the biggest supporters – morally and financially – of several revolutionary movements, especially the 6 April Youth Movement, an Egyptian activist group established in spring 2008 that used one of his villas for a headquarters. However, since the 2013 military coup, he has turned against all of these movements, describing their members as “traitors and foreign agents”.


This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition