Political Parties

POLITICAL PARTIES

Republican Party

The Republican party was founded in 1907 by a group of intellectuals influenced by French culture, as was apparent from their adopting the slogan of the French Revolution, “Liberté, Fraternité, Egalité,” and in sharing with the French community their celebrations of 14 July. They believed that the progress of the nation must undergo three stages. The first stage was the development of the constitution. Full independence was the second stage, although republicans differed over the nature of independence, which they defined as freedom from domination whether British or Ottoman. The third stage was for the nationalist movement to reach full maturity and declare a republic, which to the party members was the supreme demand and the dearest of national aspirations.

The Republicans openly opposed the rule of the Muhammad ‘Ali dynasty. They never hesitated to make violent attacks against it at a time when all other parties took care to keep their differences with the khedive under control.

The Republican party had no clearly defined plan. Only four or five of its members came to be known, and those were unable to organize the structure it required. In any case, the situation was natural for a party with such progressive views, which could materialize only half a century later under different circumstances.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Yunan Labib Rizq. al-Ahzab al-Misriyyah Qabl Thawrat 1952. Cairo, 1977.

YUNAN LABIB RIZQ

Nation’s Party (Hizb Al-Ummah)

On 20 September 1907 Hasan ‘Abd al-Raziq Pasha announced the establishment of the al-Ummah party. Mahmud Sulayman Pasha was elected president; Hasan ‘Abd al-Raziq Pasha and ‘Ali Sha‘rawi Pasha vice-presidents, and Ahmad Lutfi al-Sayyid permanent secretary.

The appearance of the al-Ummah party was coupled with the emergence of a moderate trend in Egyptian politics. The leaders felt that independence should have priority over the development of a constitution.

Al-Jaridah, edited by Ahmad Lutfi al-Sayyid, was the organ of the party. It played an important role in educating Egyptian public opinion by publishing translations of major European works such as parts of Herbert Spencer’s book on education, and several articles on socialism and other ideologies that were spreading all over the world at that time. It also dealt with social issues such as the emancipation of women.

Copts responded to the al-Ummah party more than to any of the others except the Egyptian party. Without doubt this response was due to the purely Egyptian character of the al-Ummah party as opposed to the Islamic trend of some of the other parties.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Ahmad Zakariyya al-Shiliq. Hizb al-Ummah wa-Dawruhu fi al- Siyasah al-Misriyyah. Cairo, 1979.
  • Alexander, J. The Truth about Egypt. London, 1911.
  • Husayn Fawzi al-Najjar. Ahmad Lutfi al-Sayyid, Ustadh al-Jil. Cairo, 1956.
  • Lloyd, George. Egypt Since Cromer, Vol. 1. London, 1933.
  • Yunan Labib Rizq. Al-Hayat al-Hizbiyyah fi fi ‘Ahd al-Ihtilal al-Britani. Cairo, 1970.

YUNAN LABIB RIZQ

Nationalist Party (Hizb al-Watan)

The Nationalist party was founded in October 1907 by Mustafa Kamil, a lawyer and journalist. He studied law at the French Law School in Cairo. Later he visited France twice and established close relations with French politicians and intellectuals who supported his aspirations for the independence of Egypt. He hoped that help from France or the Ottoman sultan would bring an end to the British occupation of Egypt. In 1900 he founded the newspaper al-Liwa’, which attracted students and educated young people. Mustafa Kamil introduced a new concept of nationalism for Egypt; it embraced both religion and national identity as interdependent, Islam being not only a religion but a culture as well, including non-Muslim members of that cultural community. But since he considered colonialism as a conflict between two cultures, Pan-Islamism became a necessity. Mustafa Kamil, though, did not deny his Egyptian identity.

He thus opposed those nationalists who considered themselves as Arabs. His attitude toward the Christians was one of solidarity and equality rather than mere tolerance. Although he tried to find new forms of solidarity with the Copts, Mustafa Kamil did not gain the support of the Copts. Only a few of them joined the Nationalist party, one of them being WISSA WASSEF. Wissa Wassef was the first Copt to be convinced that it is possible to join a nationalist movement, based on an Islamic cultural identity, though being a Copt. As a member of the administrative committee of the Nationalist party he strongly opposed the Coptic political attitude, that of resistance against the nationalist movement, which led a Coptic paper to call him “Judas Iscariot.” After Mustafa Kamil’s in 1908 the Nationalist party took the direction of Pan-Islamism and Pan-Ottomanism, and this increased the gap between Muslims and Copts.

A journalistic war between the Christian and Muslim presses blew up, and the relations between Copts and Muslims were at their worst for many centuries. This led the Copts to hold the COPTIC CONGRESS OF ASYUT in 1911, followed by the EGYPTIAN CONFERENCE OF HELIOPOLIS in May of the same year. The Nationalist party refused to support the Egyptian Congress, as it had refuted the Coptic Congress before, with the argument that this conflict could only help British interests.

It was only with the evolution of Egyptian liberal nationalism under the leadership of Ahmad Lutfi al-Sayyid that Coptic nationalism started to crystallize. By the time the Wafd party arose in 1919, the Copts were fully integrated into the Egyptian national movement.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Rafi‘i. Muhammad Farid Ramz al-Ikhlas wa-al- Tad-hiyah, 2nd ed. Cairo, 1948.
  • Hourani, Albert. Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age 1798-1939. Oxford, London, and New York 1962.
  • Ibrahim ‘Abduh. Tatawwur al-Sahafah al-Misriyyah 1798-1951, 2nd ed. Cairo, 1951.
  • Steppat, Fritz. “Nationalismus und Islam bei Mustafa Kamil.” Die Welt des Islam 4 (1956).

DORIS BEHRENS-ABOUSEIF

Reform Party on Constitutional Principles (Hizb Al-Islah ‘Ala Al-Mabadi’ Al-Dustruriyyah)

On 9 December 1907 al-Mu‘ayyad, a leading newspaper in Cairo at that time, announced the formation of the Party of Reform according to Constitutional Principles, under the leadership of shaykh ‘Ali Yusuf, the proprietor and editor in chief of the paper.

It is possible to understand the circumstances that led to the foundation of this party and inspired its aims by following the political career of the ruler of Egypt at that time. Khedive Abbas Hilm II presided over the secret society founded in 1894 from which the Nationalist party emanated. He had also patronized Mustafa Kamil and the group of nationalists that gathered around him. The khedive imagined he could thus exercise some sort of mandate over the party. However, relations between the khedive and Mustafa Kamil grew weaker during 1907 when the pages of al-Mu‘ayyad were full of charges against Mustafa Kamil, accusing him of rashness and conceit.

In the light of these events, ‘Ali Yusuf formed the Reform party.

The party laid down seven principles, foremost of which was to uphold the authority of the khedive, which revealed the policy of the party. The Copts abstained from joining it because of its Islamic orientation.

The party’s Islamic bent became apparent when it placed news of the Islamic world and the Ottoman state in the newspaper section reserved for local events. There is no doubt that the Islamic current was one reason why the Copts abstained from joining the party of ‘Ali Yusuf. There is no evidence of their playing any role worth considering as members of the party, or of taking part in any of its activities.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Mahmud Mitwalli. wa-al-Hayat al-Hizbiyyah wa-al- Niyabiyyah Qabl Sanat 1952. Cairo, 1980.
  • Yunan Labib Rizq. al-Ahzab al-Misriyyah Qabl Thawrat 1952. Cairo, 1977.

YUNAN LABIB RIZQ

Egyptian Party (Al-Hizb Al-Misr).

On 2 September 1908 Akhnukh Fanus issued a program for founding what he called the Egyptian party. The party was to be primarily an of the Coptic outlook. The Copts felt uneasy as a result of the sharp Islamic tendencies of the Nationalist party, particularly after the of Mustafa Kamil, when ‘Abd al-Aziz Jawish offended the Copts by describing them as possessing “black skin.” The Copts were disappointed that the al-Ummah party, after it had shown promise of being truly more “Egyptian” than any of the larger parties, failed to support them against Jawish’s attacks. Consequently the Copts withdrew from the Nationalist party in August 1908, and Akhukh Fanus announced the formation of the Egyptian party in the following month.

The founders imagined that by emphasizing basic Egyptian values they would offset the Islamic bias that the Nationalist party had adopted. Objectives of the party were the independence of Egypt and the welfare and prosperity of all the Egyptian people.

This nationalistic attitude was coupled with a secular one, in the hope that it would counter the stark religious bias of the Nationalist party. Article 3 of the program stipulated complete separation of religion from politics, and guaranteed full equality in common rights to all inhabitants of Egypt, and equality in rights to all nationals without on the grounds of race or religion.

The Egyptian party was noted for its moderate attitude with regard to foreign occupation. Article 5 urged the conclusion of a treaty between England and Egypt which would, on the one hand, guarantee the freedom of British trade in Egypt, and, on the other, facilitate its communication with India in peace and war within the Egyptian boundaries, in return for which Britain would promise to protect Egyptian independence and oppose foreign aggression.

Despite the party’s program, it lacked a proper framework, and it did not carry out any program by which one could judge its principles. The two Coptic newspapers at that time, Misr and al- Watan, declined to become the organ of the party.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Yunan Labib Rizq. al-Hayat al-Hizbiyyah fi fi ‘Ahd al-Ihtilal al-Britani 1882-1914. Cairo, 1970.
  •  . al-Ahzab al-Misriyyah Qabl Thawrat 1952. Cairo, 1977.

YUNAN LABIB RIZQ

Egyptian Democratic Party (Al-Hizb Al-Dimuqrati Al-Misri)

This party came into being on 10 January 1919. The party’s ten principles covered a number of areas: political, social, and economic. In the political area, the party called for Egypt’s internal and external independence, the creation of a representative body deputized by the people, and the maintenance of equality between all Egyptians and assuring public liberties. In the social area, the party advocated free and compulsory primary education, and the betterment of the working classes. As to the economic area, the party dedicated itself to the growth of the country’s wealth. Several of the political parties formed in the aftermath of the 1919 revolution absorbed members of the Egyptian Democratic Party and speeded up its liquidation; some joined the Wafd party, others the Yekenis. The last of its meetings was held on 4 May, 1923.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Ahmad Zakariyya al-Shiliq. Hizb al-Ahrar al-Dusturiyyin. Cairo, 1982.
  • ‘Ali al-Din Hilal. al-Siyasah wa-al-Hukm fi Misr. Cairo, 1977.
  • Fathi al-Ramli. Daw’ ‘ala al-Tajarib al-Hizbiyyah fi Misr. Cairo, 1978.
  • Muhammad Husayn Haykal. Mudhakkirat fi al-Siyasah al- Misriyyah, vol. 1. Cairo, 1951.

YUNAN LABIB RIZQ

Wafd Party

The Wafd party was the most important political party in Egypt in modern times. Its importance lay not so much in its size when compared to other parties but in the sweeping majority it managed to win every time free elections were held, while all other parties combined together won only a limited number of seats. The party also remained a large and integrated one despite various internal splits and external attacks to which it was subjected. In the twenty- five year period (1927-1952) of Mustafa al-Nahhas’s leadership he presided over seven cabinets, an achievement no other leader was able to match.

Because of the Wafd’s wide popular base the British were forced to concede, more than once, that it was the only genuine representative of the people. They refused, for instance, to conclude a treaty with any other party as in the negotiations of 1930 and 1936.

The Wafdist organization was not intended to be a political party at the start, but events made it develop into one. It would thus be true to say that the Wafd as an organization sparked off the uprising of 1919, and that the Wafd as a party was born of that uprising.

Since the Wafd organization was originally formed with the aim of ending the British protectorate and gaining independence, it was natural that the main objective of the Wafd, all through its existence, should be to work for that independence according to the evolution of that concept. Throughout that period the national cause had centered on two issues: military evacuation and union with the Sudan, or the “Unity of the Nile Valley.” The Wafd led the greatest popular uprising against the British presence in Egypt, the 1919 revolution. It forced British politicians to abandon the policy of keeping Egypt a British protectorate.

In 1920 the Wafd took the lead in campaigning for the boycott of Lord Milner’s commission of inquiry, which arrived in Cairo in December 1919 and proposed a treaty of alliance in which Egypt contracted certain obligations in return for the recognition of its independence. This showed the British the extent of the Wafd’s power, which in the end forced Lord Milner to accept negotiation with the Wafd alone. The British declaration of 28 February 1922 Egypt as an independent sovereign state, subject to certain reservations.

This period also saw sharp clashes between the Wafd and the British forces of occupation, especially when the British used or threatened to use force. The best-known incident was the ultimatum sent to Sa‘d Zaghlul upon the assassination of Sir Lee Stack, governor of the Sudan and commander of the Egyptian army, which brought the government down in 1924.

The first cabinet formed by the Wafd was that of SA‘D ZAGHLUL, called the people’s cabinet, in 1924. For the first time in the history of Egyptian cabinets it was made up of ten ministers of whom two were Copts, Murqus Hanna and Wasif Butrus Ghali. Sa‘d Zaghlul had insisted on their appointment despite King Fouad’s objection that it was traditional to appoint only one, and that the people might take objection to deviating from this tradition. Sa‘d replied that he did not discriminate between Muslim and Copt and that he was personally responsible for how Egyptians would feel.

The “people’s cabinet” was brought down by a British ultimatum when Sir Lee Stack was assassinated in 1924.

As a result of Britain’s insistence not to allow Sa‘d Zaghlul to head any new cabinet, the Wafd agreed to share in coalition cabinets between June 1926 and July 1928, headed by ‘Adli Yeken, ‘Abd al- Khaliq Tharwat, and Mustafa al-Nahhas, successively.

In 1930 Nahhas formed his second cabinet. He again appointed two Coptic Ministers: Wasif Butrus Ghali and MAKRAM EBEID, who were in charge of two very important ministries, those for foreign affairs and finance, respectively. This cabinet lasted only six months.

In May 1936 the Wafd formed its third cabinet. It was reshuffled in August of the following year when King Farouk took over his constitutional powers. Coptic representation continued in both cabinets through the same two ministers. The Wafd remained in power until the king dismissed it on 30 December, 1937.

On 4 February 1942 the Wafd returned to power during World War II as a result of the British ultimatum to the king. It lasted until 26 May when the quarrel between Mustafa al-Nahhas and Makram Ebeid took a critical turn and the latter was expelled.

The Wafd shared in Husayn Sirri’s cabinet formed on 26 July 1949, which prepared the way for the return of the Wafd for the last of its cabinets formed on 12 January 1950, where Coptic representation was reduced to one minister out of eight. This cabinet lasted until 27 January when King Farouk dismissed it following the great fire of Cairo the day before. This was the last of the Wafd governments in Egypt.

A great number of newspapers and periodicals were affiliated with the Wafd between the 1919 revolution until the party system came to an end in 1953. Al-Akhbar was issued by Amin al-Rafi‘i, and strongly supported Sad through the first few months of the revolution. Wadi al-Nil was issued in Alexandria and remained one of the Wafd’s principal newspapers there for a considerable length of time. Al-Nizam, issued by Sayyid ‘Ali, a journalist of the old Nationalist party, became the leading paper of the Wafd in 1921. Al- Ahali, which was issued by ‘Abd al-Qadir Hamzah, turned Wafdist around the end of 1921, aided by al-Minbar, edited by Ahmad Hafiz ‘Awad.

After al-Ahali stopped, al Balagh came out in 1923, edited also by ‘Abd al-Qadir Hamzah. It remained the chief newspaper of the Wafd until the end of the 1930s when it turned against the party. It returned to the ranks of the Wafd however, in the early 1940s after part of its shares were bought by a rich member of the Wafd. At the same time, other Wafdist papers appeared. Kawkab al-Sharq came out in 1924; it was edited by Ahmad Hafiz Awad after al-Minbar ceased publication. Al-Jihad, edited by Tawfiq Diyab, and al-Wafd al-Misri were issued in 1938. The longest to survive was al-Misri, which came out in 1936. Mahmud Abu al-Fath became sole proprietor a short time after it appeared. It continued even after the party system was abolished but had to stop in 1954 under the political pressures Egypt suffered that year.

In addition, there were a number of weeklies, the most famous of which were Rose al-Youssef that was begun in 1925 and Akhir Sa‘ah in 1934, published by Fatmah al-Youssef and Muhammad al-Tab‘i, respectively.

For a quarter of a century (1953-1978) the activities of the Wafd were suspended as a result of the abolition of all political parties by the leaders of the 1952 revolution. During that time it lost many of its leaders, particularly Mustafa al-Nahhas, who died in 1965.

Later, various political, social, and economic developments led to the restoration of the party system in November 1976. President Anwar al-Sadat’s intention was to have the party system emanate from the single existing organization which was the Socialist Union. It began by the formation of platforms from within that organization. Gradually they took definite inclinations: the Right was represented by the Liberal Socialists Center, and the left was represented by the Unionist Progressive Party.

The only party capable of attracting a number of deputies from the People’s Assembly and qualified to form a party without being affiliated to the Socialist Union was the New Wafd in 1978.

This party was, in fact, a continuation of the old Wafd party. Fuad Siraj al-Din, who was its last secretary before its dissolution, became its leader. Leaders of the New Wafd were careful to include Copts in its leadership. Ibrahim Faraj was appointed secretary, and the Supreme Council included a number of Copts.

In view of the New Wafd’s successful achievements, President Sadat adopted measures that aimed at limiting its activities, the most serious of which was his attempt to deprive its leadership of exercising its political activities on the pretext that the members were still subject to the political isolation law issued in the 1960s. This induced the party to suspend its activities in November 1978. In September 1981, the party suffered from the curtailment of its liberties in the course of a campaign of arrests waged against various elements of the opposition.

After Sadat’s assassination in October 1981 and the attempt at national conciliation initiated by his successor, President Husni Mubarak, hopes that the New Wafd would return to the political arena were revived. But the laws issued under Sadat stood in their way. The case was taken to court and they won the right to reform the party and to resume political activity.

Four months later the party entered the elections and won fifty- eight seats in the National Assembly and consequently came next in importance to the government party headed by the president himself, the National Democratic Party. It also became the main representative of the opposition as it was the only party to succeed through elections whereas all efforts by the three other opposition parties (the Socialist Action Party, the Unionist Progressive Party, and the Liberal Socialists) ended in failure. The most far-reaching step taken by the party at the time was the alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood, which made it lose its previous lay or secular character. On the other hand it weakened its image as a symbol of conciliation between the two elements of the nation. This was apparent from the fact that out of fifty-eight deputies of the Wafd who won the elections, not one was a Copt, while nine represented extremist religious movements.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Deeb, Marius. Party Politics in Egypt: The Wafd and Its Rivals 1919-1939. London, 1979.
  • Jalal Yahya and Khalid Na‘im. al Wafd al-Misri. Alexandria, 1984.
  • Terry, Janice J. The Wafd 1919-1952. London, 1982.

YUNAN LABIB RIZQ

Liberal Constitutional Party (Hizb al-Ahrar al-Dusturiyyin)

This party came into existence following the first split in the ranks of the Wafd Party, which occurred during the talks between ‘Adli Yeken and Lord Milner in the summer of 1920. The core of the dispute lay in the fact that Sa‘d planned to reject the project and return to Egypt to continue the struggle, while Yeken, around whom old members of the Hizb al-Ummah had rallied, believed that the nation could no longer continue the struggle.

Wishing to counter the “radical” Sa‘d Zaghlul, and to restrain the king’s ambition for power, the moderates set out to form the Liberal Constitutional party on 29 October 1922.

The party came to include a number of outstanding Egyptians, the majority of whom were members of the old Hizb al-Ummah, or their sons, who were joined by a group of liberal intellectuals.

Coptic members in the Liberal Constitutional party included the Doss brothers, Tawfiq, Wahib, and Habib (the Doss Khillah family were big landowners in Asyut and Minya). There was also Salib Sami who belonged to one of the most respectable Coptic families, and became a member of the Council in 1926. Yet none of them remained for long. No leading Copt was to be found in the ranks of the Liberal Constitutionals after 1930.

Despite the party’s insistence on implementing Egyptian independence, upholding the constitution, and defending individual freedom, it met with great resentment from the public at large. In the end the party remained that of the elite of landowners and intellectuals, which was the cause of a good deal of wrangling that lasted as long as the party lasted. The most conspicuous reason was its inconsistent policies.

Until the end of World War II the Liberal Constitutional party remained the largest after the Wafd.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Ahmad Z. al-Shiliq. Hizb al-Ahrar al-Dusturiyyin, 1922-1953. Cairo, 1982.
  • Mahmud Mitwalli. wa-al-Hayat al-Hizbiyyah wa-al- Niyabiyyah Qabl Sanat 1952. Cairo, 1980.
  • Yunan Labib Rizq. al-Ahzab al-Misriyyah Qabl Thawrat 1952. Cairo, 1977.

YUNAN LABIB RIZQ

Union Party (Hizb Al Ittihad)

The ultimatum issued in November 1924 by Lord Allenby to Sa‘d Zaghlul’s cabinet led to its resignation. This gave King Fouad a free hand to form a new cabinet and to take the necessary steps to weaken the Wafd, the large, nationalist party. A new royalist party came into being in 1925. The Union party believed that internal reform was the means by which to gain total independence for Egypt and the Sudan. From the old Nationalist party they took the notion of campaigning abroad to convince other nations of the justice of the Egyptian cause by claiming total independence for Egypt and the Sudan. They believed the national cause was still an international one. The Coptic representation in the Union Party was very weak.

The scant popularity of the party was manifested in the elections held in May 1925. It remained marginal in parliamentary affairs. It continued to decline until it disappeared altogether in the 1940s.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Yunan Labib Rizq. al-Ahzab al-Misriyyah Qabl Thawrat 1952. Cairo, 1977.

YUNAN LABIB RIZQ

People’s Party (Hizb Al Sha‘b)

On 17 November, 1930, Isma‘il Sidqi Pasha, after laying down the constitution that bore his name and which gave the king widespread power, announced the founding of the People’s party under his leadership.

Sidqi turned to rich Muslims and Copts from rural areas and succeeded in attracting many of them. The party’s program consisted of generalities.

In 1933, Sidqi resigned from the premiership. That was followed by his dismissal from the presidency of the party; the new prime minister, ‘Abd al-Fattah Yahya, assumed that position. With the fall of Sidqi came the end of the People’s party. Although the party entered the elections of 1936, it only got 10 seats out of 232, which drove it to merge, two years later, with the Union party.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • ‘Abd al-‘Azim Ramadan. Tatawwur al-Harakah al-Wataniyyah fi 1918-1936 Cairo, n.d.
  • Abu al-Fadl, M. The Sidqi Regime in Egypt, 1930-1935. Ph.D. diss., School of Oriental and Studies. London, 1975.
  • Yunan Labib Rizq. al-Ahzab al-Misriyyah Qabl Thawrat 1952. Cairo, 1977.

YUNAN LABIB RIZQ

Sa‘dist Party (Hizb Al-Hay’ah al-Sa‘Diyyah)

The appearance of the Sa‘dists at the beginning of 1938 is linked with the break from the Wafd party at the end of 1937 of two of its main figures, Ahmad Mahir and Mahmud Fahmi al- Nuqrashi.

After King Farouk assumed his constitutional powers on 29 July 1937 the Wafd cabinet, which was then in power, was required, according to the constitution, to be formed again. Nahhas Pasha seized the opportunity to get rid of a number of ministers from his previous cabinet, particularly Mahmud Fahmi al-Nuqrashi, minister of communications, an act which eventually led to the founding of the Sa‘dist Party.

As a traditional enemy of the Wafd, the Palace seized the opportunity to widen the rift within the party. The matter ended when Nuqrashi made a “political declaration” on 7 September 1937 announcing his withdrawal from the Wafd. The declaration was strongly critical of Nahhas’s policy. In reply to this declaration, the Wafd officially dismissed Nuqrashi on 13 September. Following his dismissal, Nuqrashi began to negotiate with members of the Wafd who supported him, with a view to form the Sa‘dist party.

The Sa‘dist party came into being at the beginning of 1938 and consisted of a number of Wafdists who had broken with Nahhas. They chose Dr. Ahmad Mahir as leader.

Unfortunately, the party did not lay down any specific program. The reason was clear; the break was the outcome of a personal feud, not an ideological one.

Nevertheless, the Sa‘dists became the largest of the minority parties. They took care to include a few Copts to represent them in their cabinets. The best-known were Saba Habashi and Najib Iskandar.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Yunan Labib Rizq. al-Ahzab al-Misriyyah Qabl Thwrat 1952. Cairo, 1977.

YUNAN LABIB RIZQ

Wafdist Block (Al-Kutlah Al-Wafdiyyah)

This party dissociated itself from the Wafd and was led by the Coptic party secretary, Makram Ebeid. The Kutlah came into being in 1944 as a result of the quarrel between Nahhas Pasha, the “venerable leader,” and Makram Ebeid, the “great freedom-fighter.”

When the Kutlah appeared during World War II, the Wafd government had been enjoying vast powers, and Nahhas had full authority as military governor. Yet, the Kutlah went on to defy the Wafd, particularly when they presented the king with the famous petition known as the “Black Book” which uncovered the violations committed by leaders of the Wafd. This drove the Wafd government to take repressive measures against the new group, culminating in the arrest of Makram Ebeid.

Makram’s leaving the Wafd and the rise of the Kutlah weakened the Coptic presence in the Wafd. The new party did not represent the Copts for two reasons: the political situation did not permit the rise of a sectarian party, and Makram’s striving to become prime minister was inconsistent with giving the party a sectarian character.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • ‘Abd al-‘Azim Ramadan. Tatawwur al-Harakah al-Wataniyyah fi Misr. Vol. II: 1937-1948. Beirut, 1973.
  • Mahmud Mitwalli. wa-al-Hayat al-Hizbiyyah wa-al-Niyabiyyah Qabl Sanat 1952. Cairo, 1980.
  • Yunan Labib Rizq. al-Ahzab al-Misriyyah Qabl Thwrat 1952. Cairo, 1977.

YUNAN LABIB RIZQ