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An Egyptian Green Party?

From almasryalyoum.com, speculation on whether environmental advocates and activists will rebuild an Egyptian Green Party:

After 25 January, environmental activists began talking of forming a new party, but it now seems that most Egyptians who support green initiatives have become politically involved in two ways: forming alliances with liberal parties and trying to revive the Egyptian Green Party, a party which was only nominally allowed under Mubarak.

The problem with the party, some activists say, is that it is crippled by the culture of corrupt politics that flourished under Mubarak. As for forming alliances, it remains uncertain which liberal parties will be taking on a green agenda.

The Egyptian Sustainable Development group Zahran said it is currently in talks with a liberal party that will support its platform in parliament. He said he was not able to name the party because talks had not been finalized. Maybe later in the future, he said, there would be enough political desire for creating a new Green Party.

“We need to go out there and actually start solving people’s problems, like getting clean water and electricity,” he said. “And then people will start believing in us.”

The original Egyptian Green Party was a group primarily consisting of academics who petitioned to become a political party in 1987. The party, whose goal was to promote ecological causes, was modeled after the Greens of Germany, one of the first politically prominent environmental parties.

“They were not caring about propaganda, they were caring about doing something on Earth,” said Mohamed Ahmed, an organizer with the Egyptian Green Party who is trying to revive its agenda. “The first issue was dealing with the landmines on the northern coast.”

But the party faced difficulties under Mubarak, and wasn’t inaugurated until 1990.

It was only allowed to exist, Zahran said, as long as the National Democratic Party leaders didn’t perceive it as a threat. Mubarak’s regime used the party, as it did other opposition parties, to support the idea that Egypt was making strides toward democracy.

When the party began attracting influential personalities, Mubarak shut it down, and the party remained inoperative from 1996 to 1998.

After reopening, it remained ineffective, with only one member in the Shura Council.

Now, Ahmed said, the party is hoping to field 22 candidates for Parliament. He said it would not nominate a presidential candidate, but would choose to support one from another party.

Read the entire article here.

Ronald Hardy

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