Profile: Egypt's Al-Wafd Party

By Said Shehata
BBC News


Al-Wafd gained legal status in 1978 and is headed by Al-Sayyid al-Badawi, a rich businessman.

It is a liberal party that emerged from the old Wafd party, which played an important role during the 1923-1952 period. It has branches all over the 27 governorates in Egypt.

Programme and goals

Al-Wafd wants a civil state where freedom of religion is guaranteed.

It calls for a free market economy that also takes into consideration the interests of the poor.

"We refuse the secular state that divides between state and religion," said party Vice President Bahaa Eddin Abou Shouka.

"We support that Islamic Sharia as the main source of legislation."

Electoral Alliances

The party joined the Democratic Alliance and then withdrew from it in order to establish its own alliance.

It blamed differences amongst parties in the alliance over the position of its candidates on electoral lists.


image captionBahaa Eddin Abou Shouka says the party gets 20% of its budget from its chairman

Al-Wafd is better financed that many of its rivals, partly because Mr Badawi has generously has funded party activities.

Members' subscription and donations also contribute to the party electoral campaigns and other activities.

The financial resources will enable the party to compete in all 46 party list districts and the 83 individual list districts.

"We have one million members and only 20% of the party budget comes from Badawi," says Mr Abou Shouka.

Women and Copts

The party is known for supporting the concept of citizenship and national unity.

It also calls for equality between women and men.

The party put 37 Copts and 87 women on its lists, according to Mr Badawi, and says that this is a sign of its commitment to democratic values.

Constitutional principles document (El-Silmi)

The party expressed reservations regarding articles 9 and 10, which give the army the final say on its budget and affairs.

But the party agreed on the document as a source of guiding principles.

At the same time, Mr Abou Shouka says the document is important as a guarantee against any attempt against democracy and freedoms.

He referred to fears that Islamists might win a majority and then play a crucial role in drawing the new constitution.

Chances in parliament

Some Egyptian experts think the party stands to win about 10% of the seats in parliament.

However, the vice chairman says that he expects the party to win as many as 25-30% of the seats.