Friday, Aug. 28
Latest News
  1. Merkel says Austrian tragedy a 'warning' in migrant crisis
  2. US economy grew 3.7% in second quarter
  3. Recalling their own war, Belgraders embrace Syrian refugees
  4. IS claims suicide attack that killed two Iraqi generals
  5. Syria regime, rebels agree new truce for three towns
  6. Recalling their own war, Belgraders embrace Syrian refugees
  7. Drone kills five Qaeda suspects in Yemen stronghold
  8. HRW urges coalition to stop using cluster bombs in Yemen
  9. Israeli border police officer stabbed in East Jerusalem
  10. Berlin eases asylum rules for Syrians as migrants pour into EU
  11. Assad 'confident' of Russian support for Syria regime
  12. Iran enlists Afghan refugees as fighters to bolster Syria's Assad
  13. France sees Assad's 'neutralization' as pre-condition for peace
  14. Iranian epic 'Muhammad' aims to change Islam's image
  15. Anti-nuclear deal protest held outside Iran parliament
  16. Libya calls for international air strikes against IS
  17. Germany eases asylum rules for Syrians as thousands more pour into EU
  18. Allegations of new chemical attack in Syria
  19. Lebanon cabinet fails on trash crisis amid new protests
  20. IS publishes images of Palmyra temple destruction

Egypt Brotherhood party leader seeks broad alliance with rivals

Oct. 20, 2012 7:18 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 29, 2012 9:58 A.M.)
By: Marwa Awad
CAIRO (Reuters) -- The Muslim Brotherhood's political party will seek an inclusive majority in Egypt's parliament through alliances with rivals, its new chief said, addressing fears of a narrowly Islamist outcome to the uprising against autocratic rule.

The Freedom and Justice Party elected Saad al-Katatni, 61, as FJP leader on Friday, replacing Muhammad Mursi who has gone on to become the first elected president of the Arab world's most populous state.

Since the fall last year of strongman president Hosni Mubarak, Islamists have moved to the forefront of Egyptian politics thanks to organizational skills and finances unmatched by their liberal and leftist competitors.

But during the first post-Mubarak parliament, dissolved by court order in June, liberal deputies sometimes walked out over what they saw as moves to ram through an Islamist legislative agenda without regard to Egypt's politically diverse society.

Speaking to Reuters in his first interview as FJP leader, Katatni pledged a broader political approach before the next parliamentary vote he said could take place around March 2013.

"Since the revolution, the FJP has worked to benefit everyone but there could have been more participation allowed to other parties before a decision was taken. This would have made everyone happy," Katatni said.

"At times, political forces complained not because of the decision but because they were not part of the decision-making process. We will set out to change this," the 61-year-old microbiologist said.

Katatni did not rule out a bloc with the ultraconservative Islamist Nour Party and liberal parties, but underlined that any alliance would be based on common policies, not ideology.

"The Freedom and Justice Party aims through an alliance with other political groups to achieve 50 plus 1 percent in the new assembly. But this time there will be a comprehensive programme that alliance members will draw up. This will ensure that once elected the majority bloc will work together inside parliament."

Katatni was the speaker of the first parliament formed after Mubarak's overthrow, a short-lived assembly dominated by the FJP and ultraconservative Salafis.

Now the head of the 400,000-strong FJP must convince a wary public it can be trusted to govern fairly for all Egyptians.

Many Egyptians and rights groups are concerned that a new constitution being drawn up should not impose an Islamist vision of society out of keeping with Egypt's confessional complexity.

But the process has been hindered by a tug-of-war between Islamists, liberals and others in the 100-strong assembly drawing up the document.

Breaking free

Now that the FJP has governing responsibility, many count on Katatni, who joined the Islamist movement in 1979, to transform it into a party less dependent on the Brotherhood's logistical, financial and political support, Brotherhood sources say.

"Until now the FJP's grassroots structure has not been as widespread or unified as the Muslim Brotherhood's grassroots base...So the party is constantly counting on the Brotherhood to rally big numbers during elections," said Katatni.

"The Brotherhood can within an hour rally huge numbers to public places. The FJP cannot do this yet. We want the Brotherhood to support the FJP but not interfere in its decision making process. This is possible."

In the previous parliament, the FJP relied entirely on the Brotherhood for voter support, which led to Islamists securing around 70 percent backing.

Katatni said he planned to travel to Europe to cultivate relations with established political parties in countries such as Britain and Germany.

"Our party wants to learn from the experiences of other parties worldwide. The FJP will initiate ties regionally and internationally to learn about the experiences of leading parties in parliament. Parties in European countries such as Britain, Germany (offer a good model)."
Powered By: HTD Technologies
Ma'an News Agency
All rights reserved © 2005-2015