Profile: Egypt's Free Egyptians Party

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The Free Egyptians Party is a liberal party that gained legal status on 20 June 2011, and its founder is the rich businessman Naguib Sawiris.

It is currently chaired by a three-person presidential council, with a party chairman to be elected after the parliamentary polls.

Programme and goals

The party calls for freedom and democracy, and a civil state that is based on citizenship. Its logo of flying birds is meant to represent the importance of freedom.

Its economic programme is a free market economy and social justice, to be achieved through giving loans and lands to young people to do their own small projects.

It also highlights the importance of big national projects, which it says can encourage Egyptian to develop their country.

Electoral Alliances

The party is part of the Alliance that has the "eye" symbol in the elections. It is the biggest party in the Egyptian Bloc in terms of the number of candidates.

The bloc was created to challenge both the Islamist Alliance and the Democratic Alliance. It believes in establishing a civil state, a position opposed by Islamists.


Image caption,
Ahmed Said says too many female candidates could hamper the party's chances

Like Al-Wafd, it is financially supported by a rich businessman.

Ahmed Said, a member of the party's presidential council, told BBC that Naguib Sawiris contributes 20% of the total budget.

He said the rest comes from members and supporters.

This financial power enabled the party to field 150 candidates in the elections.

Women and Copts

The party stresses the importance of equality between women and men and between Muslims and Copts. Some 40% of members are Copts, Ahmed Said told BBC.

The party did not call for removing article 2 of the constitution that states the Islamic Sharia principles are the main source of legislation.

However, the party is calling for a civil state, which distinguishes it from Islamists calling for a religious state.

With regard to women candidates, Mr Said said bluntly that "we are entering fierce elections and we need to win as many seats as we can, and this means there are not many women are not many in our lists".

Constitutional principles document (El-Silmi)

The party considers the document as an important guard against the scenario of a parliament controlled by Islamists.

Mr Said said that each revolution has its own constitutional document that guarantees freedoms and democracy, so Egypt should also have one.

He added that the government made some concessions because of a demonstration against it on 18 November, and that the document is now not binding and word "civil" has been removed from its first article.

Mr Said said that if the document is not binding, it has lost its value.

Chances in parliament

The party says it has 150 candidates and 150,000 members, and branches all over the country.

Mr Said said he could not predict how well the party would do, and that he was not sure whether the "silent majority" of Egyptians - who have not been protesting - will turn out to vote.

There are 50 million people who are eligible to vote, but it is known the percentage of participation, especially in the light of recent violence and the feeling of lack of security. The Scaf pledged to protect the poll stations, but will this be enough to urge votes to cast their votes.