Mubarak faces a divided and diversified opposition | world | Hindustan Times
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Mubarak faces a divided and diversified opposition

world Updated: Feb 01, 2011 23:05 IST

The opposition to the regime of Egypt's embattled President Hosni Mubarak is a divided and diversified group of secular and Islamist parties, as well as civil society organisations.

There are 20 authorised secular opposition parties, most of which have a weak support base. Their representation in parliament is limited to 15 out of a total of 518 seats.

The most prominent is the New Wafd, founded in 1978 and inspired by the original Wafd party, the largest nationalist party since it was established at the start of the 20th century.

There is also al-Ghad (Tomorrow) Party, which was founded by Ayman Nur, an opposition figure who challenged Mubarak in the 2005 presidential elections.

In addition, there are several groups that left-leaning, socialists or Nasserists -- inspired by the policies of the late popular President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Islamists are mostly dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which was founded in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna. The group is officially banned and is not a political party, as the constitution does not allow parties based on religion.

Although members of the Muslim Brotherhood are subject to frequent arrests, the group is tolerated in public life and is represented in several philanthropic institutions and unions.

The group is also considered the strongest grass roots movement and the most organised. But after a surprise win in 2005 elections, in which it clinched 20 percent of seats (88 seats), its representation in the legislative was wiped out in the 2010 elections.

The Brothers, who failed to win any seats in the first round of elections, decided to boycott the second round, accusing the ruling National Democratic Party of fraud.

The most prominent civil society movement is now the National Association for Change, led by Nobel Peace prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, who previously headed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The group likes to describe itself as a venue for figures and movements of different backgrounds that demand democratic reforms.

There is the pro-democracy youth group April 6th Movement, named after a labour uprising in the Nile Delta in April 2008. The group is mainly active on the Internet, especially through Facebook.

There is also the Kefaya (Enough) movement which was founded in 2004 by several anti-government activists. It became well known for its multiple demonstrations during the 2005 elections, but has become less visible since then.