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Salafist Nour Party sets sights on quarter of Egypt’s parliamentary seats: official - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Younes Makhioun (R), the head of the Al-Nour Party, listens to party spokesman Nader Bakkar during a news conference about the constitution in Cairo on December 5, 2013. (REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Younes Makhioun (R), the head of the Al-Nour Party, listens to party spokesman Nader Bakkar during a news conference about the constitution in Cairo on December 5, 2013. (REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Egypt’s Salafist Nour Party aims to secure 25 percent of seats at the forthcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for early 2015, a senior party member told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“The Nour Party is seeking to secure 25 percent of the seats of the forthcoming parliament, which is similar to the proportion it won in Egypt’s last parliamentary elections,” senior Nour Party official Shaaban Abdel-Aleem told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The Salafist party, which is the political arm of the Dawa Al-Salafiya group, came second in the previous legislative elections, initially allying with the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to form a majority bloc.

However the Nour party subsequently split from the Brotherhood, participated in drawing up the transitional road-map announced by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi following the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013. The Nour’s pro-Sisi line has drawn criticism from pro-Brotherhood Islamist groups in Egypt.

The Nour party also participated in the 50-member constitution drafting committee that helped write Egypt’s new constitution and which includes articles explicitly banning political parties based on religious grounds, with some in the country arguing that this applies to the Salafist Nour party as well.

The Nour Party’s Supreme Committee met on Friday and Saturday to draw up a final list of parliamentary candidates after collecting nominations from across its electoral centers in Egypt, Abdel-Aleem told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Egypt adopts a complicated mixed parliamentary electoral system that incorporates party-list proportion representation system and the one member, one vote system.

Of the total 567 of the country’s parliamentary seats, 420 will be elected through the one member, one vote system and 120 through party-lists, with the President of the Republic appointing the remaining five percent of seats.

President Sisi issued a decree on December 21, dividing the country into 237 constituencies for the one member, one vote system and 4 constituencies for party-lists.

“The Nour Party will determine the names of the candidates running for the one member, one vote system on Saturday,” Abdel-Aleem said.

Asked whether his party intends to join any electoral alliance, Abdel-Aleem said Al-Nour will only ally with independent candidates, not parties.

He said: “Alliances are possible, but only with independent candidates rather than political parties. Joining an alliance with individuals depends on the candidate’s strength and clout in their constituency.”

He denied claims that his party will seek to join a political Islamist alliances. Abdel-Aleem told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Islamist parties are determined not to participate in the parliamentary elections and even if some decide otherwise, coordination with the Nour Party would be difficult due to the lack of harmony between us and the other parties affiliated with the Islamist current.”