CAIRO (AFP) – Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has joined forces with 17 other parties, including liberal and secular groups, to form a common platform ahead of legislative elections, state media said on Wednesday.
In a meeting on Tuesday, participants including the Brotherood’s Freedom and Justice Party, the liberal Wafd party, the left-leaning Tagammu and the newly formed Salafi (Muslim Fundamentalist) Noor party, joined hands to “channel their efforts… into building a state of law based on citizenship, equality and sovereignty of the people.”
Tuesday’s meeting also discussed the idea of a unified list in the legislative polls.
In a statement, the parties outlined their common principles including “freedom of belief and worship”, freedom of expression and a free media, the independence of the judiciary and “an economic system based on social justice.”
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took power when president Hosni Mubarak was ousted by a popular uprising in February, has set the parliamentary elections for September.
But as new and old parties scramble to prepare, there have been mounting calls for delaying the polls in order to give newly formed groups time to mobilise.
A September election is expected to boost Islamists, particularly the highly organised Muslim Brotherhood which was banned under Mubarak but gained a wide network of support through decades of charity work and social projects.
Some groups are calling to have the constitution drafted before the elections, while others are pushing for early polls to see the army out of power as soon as possible.
Prime Minister Essam Sharaf has hinted at a possible election delay, saying it would give parties more time to organise.
The military has said the parliamentary poll will be held on schedule in September, followed by a new constitution and then a presidential vote.