A programme to return Egypt to a multi-party democracy has been thrown a challenge when plans were announced in Cairo on Tuesday (23 August) to revive the pre-revolutionary Wafd party.
GV: 1924 library footage Luxor dispute, crowd of 20,000 on visit to King. (black and white)
CU: H.E. Saad Pasha Zagloul (black and white)
SV: former Egyptian Minister of Interior Fouad Serajuddin acknowledging cheers and sitting down.
SV: crowd applauding and chanting. (2 shots)
CU: Serajuddin speaking in Arabic.
GV PAN: crowd chanting.
SYNOPSIS: Before the 1952 revolution, Egypt was a monarchy. The Wafd in those days reflected the country's feudalist structure, with its members largely made up of the pashas, an Egyptian version of a medieval baron. It was the Pasha Saad Zagloul who founded the party.
Now the party is attempting a comeback. Its largely the ambition of Egypt's foremost Pasha Fouad Serajuddin, a former Minister of the Interior. Support for a new Wafd party based on its feudalist past is most enthusiastic in rural Egypt.
Speaking on Tuesday (23 August at the Egyptian Bar Association on the 50th anniversary of the death of Saad Zagloul, Mr Serajuddin said he would be submitting the required documents to re-establish the party. He will need the support of 20 members of the present parliament if he is to be successful. President Sadat has already permitted the establishment of three parties of the left, centre, and right. But since the new parties Law, passed last June, a fourth party could only be founded if 20 Members of Parliament were persuaded to join. The creation of the Wafd would be considered a direct challenge to President Sadat, who declared last year that there would be no change in Egypt's socialist system nor would there be any return to capitalism or feudalism. So far Mr Serajuddin and his attempts to form a fourth party, has been the subject of derision in the Egyptian press, with cartoons showing Mr Serajuddin whispering to corpses in their coffins. For the wafidists, there are no original members under the age of 63. But the revival of a feudal party is being taken seriously by President Sadat who in recent weeks has been denying the possibility of a Wafd revival.
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Background: A programme to return Egypt to a multi-party democracy has been thrown a challenge when plans were announced in Cairo on Tuesday (23 August) to revive the pre-revolutionary Wafd party. If successful, it would be the fourth political party to be set up since President Anwar Sadat announced the creation of political parties following the parliamentary elections last November. Before the election, the only legal political party was the Arab Socialist Union, which was created after President Nasser assumed power 21 years ago.