Egypt's Opposition Denounces Suspension of Islamist Party

Published May 21st, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Egypt's parliamentary opposition condemned Sunday the suspension of the country's sole Islamist party, months ahead of legislative elections. 

The neo-liberal Al-Wafd, the leftist Tagamu, and Arab-Socialist Nasserist parties, which account for 11 of the 454 seats in parliament, all denounced Saturday's decision to suspend the Islamist-led Labor Party. 

Labor's newspaper Al-Shaab, which has been accused of fomenting student unrest, was also temporarily closed under the decision which the authorities said was needed until an internal power struggle is resolved. 

Al-Arabi, the Nasserist party weekly, condemned the government "attack" against Labor, saying "all movements have the right to discussion, following the basic logic of democracy." 

The Tagamu party, according to the newspaper Al-Ahrar, also denounced the authorities' decisions in an extraordinary meeting late Saturday. 

In announcing its decision, the government Parties Committee said it would not recognize any Labor Party factions until the rift is resolved, "whether via the courts or via an amicable agreement." 

Factions are backing two different candidates for party chairman against the existing one, Ibrahim Shukri. 

The party's secretary general Adel Hussein, a Shukri supporter who has alleged the security services orchestrated the split as a pretext for a crackdown, appealed Saturday for support from other opposition parties. 

The ruling came just months ahead of parliamentary elections which are expected to take place across Egypt in October or November. 

The party split followed accusations in Egypt's government press that it was using the bi-weekly Al-Shaab to incite students at Cairo's Al-Azhar university to demonstrate against the recent republication of an allegedly blasphemous novel by Syrian writer Haidar Haidar - CAIRO (AFP) 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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