Ex-NDP members on opposition coalition lists for parliamentary elections

Many former members of the now-disbanded National Democratic Party who are not deprived of their rights to practice politics appear on the National Salvation Front candidate lists for the next parliamentary elections, Essam Shiha, a member of the front told Egypt Independent Wednesday.

Article 232 of the newly approved Constitution stipulates that NDP leaders shall be banned from political work and prohibited from running in presidential or legislative elections for 10 years from the date the Constitution was adopted.

The article included everyone who was a member of the party secretariat, policies committee or political bureau, or was a member of the People’s Assembly or Shura Council during the two legislative elections that preceded the 25 January revolution.

“This article pertains to a few hundred NDP members,” Shiha, who is also a member of the liberal Wafd Party, said. “There are more than 1,000 NDP members banned, but currently there are more than 2 million eligible to run in the elections who used to be local council members or members of governorates’ NDP offices. Why would we exclude them?”

Justifying the opposition coalition’s approach, Shiha said, “Those [former members] are not corrupt, and we can draw on them for our fight against the extreme right, especially the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Media reports said young members of the front, led by figures such as Mohamed ElBaradei and Hamdeen Sabbahi, are against fielding former regime “remnants” on the group’s lists, considering it not “revolutionary.”

Shiha referred to a consensus among the front’s leaders to field former NDP members as nominees on the lists, and asked the objecting youth to put into consideration the political “battle,” and that the rules of the “game” legitimize using all the means to earn the largest number of votes.

The front comprises more than 10 liberal and leftist parties, including the Wafd Party, the Free Egyptians Party, the Social Democratic Party and the Socialist Popular Alliance Party.

Experts question the harmony between the National Salvation Front parties over the upcoming elections and its ability to run them on one list. They believe that the front is not united, and that it would run in the elections with two lists, which Shiha has denied.

“Ninety percent of the constituencies will have one list, 10 percent two,” he said.

He explained that some constituencies will witness fierce competition, as some of the parties in the front would prefer to run in the election on a separate list, because they enjoy wide popularity in those constituencies. Applications for candidacy will be opened on 25 February.

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