Tamarod takes first steps to establish political party

Tamarod, the movement that spearheaded a petition campaign to oust former President Mohamed Morsi last year, has taken steps to form a political party, local press reported.

The group’s official spokesperson Mohamed Nabawy announced on Tuesday that they had begun collecting endorsements from members to establish a party.

The movement does not currently have any formal membership procedures. Nabawy said it is the right of anyone who signed the Tamarod petition and who believes in the political vision that the movement is moving towards to submit their signature and be part of the new party.

He added that Mahmoud Badr would take steps to establish the “Tamarod Popular Arab Party” following the announcement of the results of the upcoming presidential elections.

In late April, on Tamarod’s one year anniversary, Badr reiterated previous comments that the movement would become a political party following the presidential elections. The event was attended by several leading members of Sisi’s presidential campaign.

Badr is a member of the Sisi campaign’s youth commission, headed by 53-year-old Hazem Abdel Azeem. After panic in the top echelons of government following low youth participation in the referendum, which passed the constitutional draft with a 98 percent approval rate, Sisi’s presidential campaign sought to target young people. The referendum was seen by many as a vote on Sisi’s managing of the country since Morsi’s ouster.

Karim al-Saqqa, another member of the commission, told privately owned Al-Shorouk on Tuesday that Sisi had met with the youth committee of his campaign the previous evening, pledging to them that the Egypt’s youth would be partners in his presidential project and are the backbone of the future. 

Tamarod announced its support for a Sisi presidency in December, three months before he stepped down from his military post as defense minister to contest the elections. Splits among the movement’s co-founders followed, and in February, three prominent members, Hassan Shaheen, Mohamed Abdel Aziz and Khaled al-Kady, were suspended after they announced their support for presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi, thereby violating the agreement to endorse Sisi.

Two Tamarod co-founders, Mamdouh Badr and Mohamed Abdel Aziz, sat on the committee of 50 that presented the constitutional draft to be voted on in the referendum, and the movement campaigned encouraging citizens to vote.

The stances taken by Tamarod’s offical spokespeople have been largely supportive of most political developments since Morsi’s ouster, with the main exception being its criticism of the Protest Law issued in November 2013. 

The group actively called for the law to be amended, taking into account Egyptians’ right to expression. Several have been detained on charges of violating the Protest Law, including participating in demonstrations that occurred before the law was passed.

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