CAIRO — Egypt’s most organized and powerful Islamist movement on Monday announced it intends to join forces with one of the nation’s oldest liberal parties, presenting a formidable coalition for upcoming parliamentary elections.
The alliance would unite the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the Wafd Party, a liberal party established just after World War I, to run on one candidate list in the elections scheduled for September. The move is likely to be a significant boost for the Brotherhood, a well-organized political group that expects to take a third of parliament’s seats.
The move surprised some analysts because of the long-standing rivalry between the two groups, and likely startled some secularists and liberals.
“Now that this coalition exists, it will dictate the electoral outcome,” said Essam el-Erian, vice president of the Freedom and Justice Party and former member of the Brotherhood’s guidance bureau. Erian said that the coalition is open and encourages others to join.
“We want a parliament that represents the entire nation, with all its political tendencies and forces,” he said.
The coalition of the two parties is the start of what Erian said the parties hope will be a far-reaching alliance with other groups and independent candidates. Ultimately, he said, they hope the coalition, after others join, will have a strong showing in the first parliament to be elected following President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in February.
No single party is expected to win an outright majority in parliament, a body that will be tasked with choosing a 100-member committee to write Egypt’s new constitution.