Two main coalitions have already been formed in preparation for Egypt’s first elections following the fall of the Mubarak regime. The coalitions are: The Democratic Coalition for Egypt, formed months ago and the recently created Egyptian Bloc. Although the differences between the two are unclear, there seems to be an Islamic vs. civil split. While some say the groups are distinctly different, others argue that they have not been formed in opposition to each other.
Despite expectations that Egypt’s coming elections will have one of the highest turnout rates ever, similar to the 2011 constitutional referendum conducted months earlier, political parties and coalitions are still in the making. According to statements made by the military council and Egypt’s interim government, the elections are expected to take place in November. The candidates are to be announced by September, less than one month from now.
Having previously been subjected to unfair competition in elections, which were rigged to ensure the perpetual sway of Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, the coalitions should boost the opposition parties’ chances of gaining seats in parliament and the Shoura Council.
The Democratic Coalition for Egypt was initially formed by more than 30 parties, including Egypt’s oldest legal opposition political parties: the Wafd and Tagammu, in addition to the Muslim Brotherhood’s newly formed Freedom and Justice party. However, not long after the coalition was formed, the Tagammu party quit and the Wafd party suffered divisions, debating whether to remain in the coalition or not.
According to Wafd member Wahid Abd El-Meguid, the purpose of the coalition is to prepare for the elections by: agreeing to a joint stance regarding election law and deciding on an electoral programme, which will include the main principles of the new constitution. If the group wins a majority in parliament, they should form a coalition government.
However, others believe the agreements are not going as well as planned. Essam Shiha, member of the Wafd’s high committee, says “some members within the party already had reservations regarding the formation of the coalition but after what happened on July 29, the coalition needs to be seriously reconsidered.”