The newly established National Front for Change in Egypt incorporating a number of opposition parties, in preparation for the upcoming parliamentary elections, marks a turning point in the country’s political landscape, if it remains united.
Opposition groups in Arab countries, and especially Egypt, tend to attack the government but seldom do they adopt mechanisms for reform. In most cases, they disagree with each other more than they do with the government.
The newly announced National Front is an intelligent and logical move at a time when opposition parties in Egypt are weak and alienated from their power base; many are old and devoid of any young members.
It is in the interest of the National Democratic Party (NDP) to encourage such a step, as it is set to lose if it becomes the only political party in a totalitarian regime and occupies all the seats in the People’s Assembly. In the absence of a true opposition that criticizes and competes with the ruling party, forcing it to reform itself, the NDP will never rid itself of opportunist members and subsequently will not succeed in reinvigorating Egyptian politics.
Egyptians do not trust politicians based on bitter experiences with elections and political parties since the 1952 revolution. Since then, successive governments have dominated people’s life and decided when they said, ate and even drank. They handpicked parliament members while the economy remained uncompetitive and a political stifled.
Competing political parties and platforms along with a chance to take part in the political process are needed if Egyptian is society is to believe in itself again and convince itself change is possible.
The National Front is an important step in the right direction. The latest presidential elections brought many positives despite all the obstacles. The upcoming vote will test different political currents and the ability of Egyptians to move from reaction to action and from talking about democracy to practicing it.