CAIRO: The Freedom and Justice Party along with Al-Wafd will discuss Tuesday whether the two will contest parliamentary elections on a joint party list, officials announced at a conference late Sunday.
The announcement came hours after both told the media that they are no longer planning to run under one list. In a private meeting held Sunday, however, other member parties of the Democratic Alliance convinced representatives of the FJP and Al-Wafd to reconsider their position for the benefit of the Alliance.
Divisions within the Alliance, some said, would send clear signs of weakness to both the Egyptian street and the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
According to a source who preferred to remain anonymous, a confidential meeting took place between Al-Wafd Party and FJP to iron out disagreements over electoral lists and distributions.
At the conference, Mohamed Morsi, head of the FJP, reiterated the Democratic Alliance’s demands, saying that no action has been taken towards their implementation.
These include ending the state of emergency and enforcing a political exclusion law that would ban remnants of the ousted regime from political participation for 10 years.
Some members are concerned that ending the state of emergency would make candidates vulnerable to thuggery during upcoming elections. However, the coalition put the onus of maintaining security and upholding human rights on the military and police now and during elections, without referring to extraordinary laws or regulations.
Morsi added that members of the Alliance are in constant consultations to coordinate and unify their position before, during and after elections as they aim to form a majority bloc in the upcoming parliament.
On Saturday, the SCAF met with a number of political party leaders to lay out a timetable for the transition of power, announcing that the People’s Assembly will begin its work in the second half of January while the Shoura Council will commence on March 24.
A joint meeting of both houses will take place by the first week of April to choose the constituent assembly that will draft a new constitution. At the same time, parties and the military council agreed to lay down non-binding guidelines for the new constitution, which has been an issue of conflict between liberals and Islamists.
Parties present at the meeting said discussions with SCAF have ended the debate over proposed supra-constitutional principles. The Democratic Alliance in particular had expressed disappointment with the supra-constitutional principles, saying that no one is above the constitution except the Egyptian people who can change it.
Presidential hopeful and head of Al-Ghad Party Ayman Nour told reporters that the end of emergency law, military trials for civilians and setting a timeline for the next phase are the most important demands that need urgent action.
Boycott the elections
The 34 parties of the Democratic Alliance previously threatened to boycott the polls unless the elections law is changed to allow them to field candidates both on party lists as individuals.
SCAF responded by abolishing Article 5 of the elections law that deals particularly with this issue.
However, the council did not enforce the law that would exclude remnants of Mubarak's former ruling party from running in elections.
Parties meeting on Sunday said that even though they abandoned the threat of boycott, they would continue to press for other demands.
A source who spoke on condition of anonymity said each party in the coalition will nominate 15 highly qualified members to represent it in parliament. A committee will study each party’s candidates to determine who is most popular in respective constituencies.
According to that source, the parties disagree over the stance of the FJP and Al-Wafd to have two electoral lists, denouncing the coalition’s leadership actions.
“Some parties told the FJP and Al-Wafd that they cannot place a quota inside the Alliance for their own interests …or else it [would be] better to break the Alliance,” said the source.