During the overthrow of the late President Mohamed Morsi on July 3, 2013, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, then minister of defence, insisted on the presence of Islamic figures whilst announcing the coup d’état. Although most of Islamic organisations aligned then with the Muslim Brothers joined the sit-in in Rabaa al-Adawia Square, al-Sisi found his way into al-Nour Party, which represents the political organ of the Alexandria Salafist Call, the second most potent Islamist organisation in Egypt which then belonged to the orthodox Islamic school of Salafism.
Today, seven years later, al-Sisi’s security bodies contact other Islamic and Salafist groups to enter the upcoming pre-engineered parliament in a situation similar to that of Pakistan, but with little Islamism and much more militarisation.
Sources close to Salafist public figures in Egypt said that the security bodies contacted the leaders of Salafist parties that froze their political activities after the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi, ordering them to reactivate their parties and get ready to join the upcoming elections of the senate and the House of Representatives the following November.
The Egyptian regime sought to use this Islamist component for its deep military state, which is more dominant than the military component in the Gamal Abdel Nasser period.
Sources said that the regime resorted to those parties after al-Nour Party’s popularity and the regression of its political performance. It is noteworthy that the party now has 11 seats in the current parliament out of 596 seats. Sources added that al-Binaa wa al-Tanmia party (the Building and Development Party), the political organ of al-Gamaa al-Islamiya (the Islamic Group), and al-Watan party (The Homeland Party), a splinter party of al-Nour Party and headed by Emad Abdel Ghafour, was one of the top parties targeted by security bodies.
Last June, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled al-Binaa wa al-Tanmia Party be dissolved according to reports about its alignment with the Muslim Brothers that is categorised now in Egypt as a terrorist organisation.
After that, Aboud al-Zumar, a figure of al-Binaa wa al-Tanmia and a former Major in the Military Intelligence who was dismissed after the assassination of al-Sadat, called the voting bloc of his party, which he estimated at 3.6 million voters, to reconvene to establish a new party. “After the decision [to dissolve] al-Binaa wa al-Tanmia, I called the figures of the party’s bloc to avoid the individual faults that led to the dissolution, and I recommend consultation about a new party’s name and platform on the Facebook page of the block,” wrote al-Zumar on Twitter. This Tweet was followed by another, days ago, in which al-Zumar said that the freedom of political activity and forming parties is one of the pillars of the Egyptian national security, and that the dissident voice is necessary for improving governmental performance. Al-Zumar’s statements represent a discourse that disappeared in Egypt after al-Sisi.
Al-Zumar’s call was followed by a statement by Khaled al-Sherif, the media adviser of the dissolved party, who greeted the call of al-Zumar to establish a new party, and said that such a call asserts the insistence of the party on continuing its political struggle amid the struggle on the political, social and economic levels.
On the other hand, al-Watan Party, which disappeared from the political scene after the overthrow of Morsi, is still studying the offer from security bodies. Al-Watan is headed by Emad Abdel Ghafour who was a figure of the Salafist Call and the former general secretary of al-Nour Party. Abdel Ghafour was selected by President Mohamed Morsi as an assistant for social communication.