Profile: Egyptian Social Democratic Party

By Said Shehata
BBC News


The Egyptian Social Democratic Party gained legal status on 3 July 2011 and is headed by Mohammed Abou Al-Ghar.

It emphasises both free market economics and social justice as part of a free and democratic system.

Programme and goals

The cornerstone of its programme is a constitution that guarantees a civil state is based on citizenship.

This is similar to other parties such as al-Tagmmu and the Free Egyptians Party.

Social and economic rights are also key components of the party's programme, including the right to housing, education, health and a minimum wage.

"People's rights, especially the poor, are essential, and a civil state is a must," Emad Gad, a member of the party's executive bureau, told the BBC.

Electoral Alliances

image captionEmad Gad says a civil state is "a must"

The party is a leading member of the Egyptian Bloc.

Party membership stands at 100,000 members according to Mr Gad.

It has played a major role in calling for liberal forces to unite their efforts to achieve democracy in Egypt.

It withheld candidates from some electoral districts to give its allies in the bloc a better chance of winning.

The bloc is facing fierce competition from the Islamist parties to win more votes.


The party does not have wealthy backers, relying on members' subscriptions and donations.

It faces financial challenges which make efforts to reach potential votes and members harder.

The party has used volunteers to recruit new members. Emad Gad told the BBC that donations are limited at 250,000 Egyptian pounds (£27,000) in order to prevent rich people controlling the party.

Women and Copts

The party has 18 Copts and 45 women on its lists.

Two lists have women at the top, namely, Mona Makram Ebeid and Fatima Naout.

There are some Copts who have leadership positions inside the party, such as Emad Gad and Ehab El-Kharat.

Constitutional principles document (El-Silmi)

The Egyptian Social Democratic Party is similar to some other parties in rejecting articles 9 and 10 of the document, which give the army immunity from parliamentary oversight.

But it supports the document, saying it will guarantee that no single political faction will control the new parliament and the constitutional committee that will draw the new constitution.

It did not participate in a protest mainly led by the Islamist parties on 18 November protest against the document.

Chances in parliament

The party has 144 candidates in the party list districts and 54 on the individual list districts. The party also has branches all over Egypt.

"If 70% of voters cast their vote, the party will get 40-50 seats," said Mr Gad.

This seems optimistic given that the party is new, and participation may fall due to recent violence.