September 2011, Week 4


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Wed, 28 Sep 2011 23:12:09 -0400
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Egypt's First Leftist Party Sees the Light

    The Socialist Popular Alliance becomes the
    first leftist party since the January 25
    Revolution to submit a formal notification to
    the parties committee

By Ekram Ibrahim 
Ahram Online 
September 28, 2011


On Wednesday, members of the Socialist Popular Alliance
Party marched in joy through Tahrir Square, playing the
oriental `Hasabla' music in celebration of collecting
the minimum 5,000 notarised memberships needed to apply
for official status. The Popular Alliance has now
become the first leftist party to reach the mark since
the January 25 Revolution.

"We have been working on the establishment of this
party since March, we are so happy to finally reach
this stage," Mona Ezzat, a member of the general
secretariat, told Ahram Online.

Having submitted the required documents today, Popular
Alliance members are now awaiting the approval of the

The members marched, bearing a sign with the name of
the party and a subtitle which read: "workers,
peasants, artisans' employees, students, professionals
and intellectuals." Party members celebrating in Tahrir
on Wednesday represented a cross-section of Egyptian
society; peasants and workers along with notable
intellectuals danced to the music, chanting: "The
alliance stems from the factories and the agriculture
land," "Down with military rule" and "We demand social
justice." The Popular Alliance seeks a civil state,
calling for an end to military rule and opposing the
idea of a religious alternative.

"I am here dancing and singing with the crowd because
the party is working on the rights of the poor," Saad
Hosni, a peasant from Aswan and a member of the
Socialist Popular Alliance, told Ahram Online.

The leftist party stands against the reactivation of
the emergency law and have also demanded that the
Supreme Council of the Armed Forces provide a timetable
for the transitional process and put an immediate end
to military trials for civilians. Accordingly, they are
planning to take part in this Friday's "End to
Emergency Law" protest in Tahrir Square.

Among the party's popular and influential figures are
Abdel-Ghaffar Shokr, deputy director of Arab and
African Research Centre and a well-known socialist
activist; Khaled El-Sawi, an actor and activist and
Sonallah Ibrahim, a famous novelist and short story

The party, which is now working on attracting the
participation of youth and women, was able to collect
close to 6,000 authorisations from 26 different

Under the ruling military council's recent party
formation laws which eased the conditions imposed under
ousted president Hosni Mubarak, parties must present
the parties committee, composed of judges and chaired
by the head of the court of cassation, with written
notification of their intention to operate as a
political party. The notification must be signed by a
5,000 members from 10 different governorates, with at
least 300 members from each of the governorates.

Egypt now has 47 officially approved parties, according
to the Parties' Affairs Commission.

In a report titled, "The Political Parties Map in Egypt
in 28 September 2011", the commission mentioned that
among the 47 political parties officially approved, 23
parties were established before the January 25
Revolution while 24 parties have since been approved.

The first party to be approved after the new law was
passed in March, according to the commission, is the
Muslim Brotherhood affiliated Freedom and Justice

A handful of other leftist parties have also been
seeking the required memberships, including the
Democratic Workers Party, the Communist Party, and the
Socialist Party.


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