CAIRO: A new group’s call for international observers to monitor local elections has arguably highlighted a rift within the Kefaya Movement for Change.
Kefaya co-founder and assistant coordinator George Ishaq launched a campaign titled “My Voice, My Demand, adopting reformist ideas that call for the presence of international observers during local elections to guarantee a fair process.
Monitors said the step “reflects rifts among the movement’s members.
The launch of the campaign comes shortly after the inauguration of another movement by a group of activists under the name “Egyptian Coalition for Change, whose official spokesperson is Abdel-Halim Qandil, head of the Kefaya Movement for Change.
While the Coalition calls for “deep-rooted reforms – most importantly the formation of a transitional government tasked with implementing political reform and creating a committee to draft a new constitution – the other is focused on elections.
“My Voice, My Demand – whose members include Mahmoud El-Khodeiry, cassation court deputy president, and Ali Al Salma, former deputy president of the Democratic Front Party – outlines four main demands: the presence of foreign observers during local elections; updating the voters list according to the information listed on the new national identification cards; setting-up online voting facilities; and amending the laws regarding citizens’ rights to engage in political activity.
Although both movements are different in concept, the recent launch of “My Voice, My Demand shed light on long-standing tension between Ishak and Qandil.
According to a source in Kefaya, “Ishaq’s decision to launch the campaign is a sign of his independence from the movement which is a result of the existing rifts between both factions within the movement: the independents represented by Ishaq and the nationalists that Qandil belongs to.
Ishaq refused to give details, referring to the split as “a mere difference in points of view, adding that “‘My Voice, My Demand’ has nothing to do with Kefaya; it is an independent campaign launched by a group of activists.
“We started promoting the campaign locally through a series of seminars and conferences held in the different governorates to raise people’s awareness of the importance of their votes, he added.
Qandil, on the other hand, refuted allegations that conflict exists within his movement, adding that “My Voice, My Demand “favors the existing government by assuming that there are fair elections.
“The campaign is based on the presumption that the government is willing to carry out fair elections which is not the case and is not likely to happen; it’s unimaginable. The opposition in Egypt is largely disorganized, which results in initiatives and campaigns that do not follow through and fail to accomplish anything with regard to democracy and political reform, he added.