Kifaya ("Enough") Egyptian Movement for Change)
Egypt's Kifaya (or "Enough" movement, also known as the Egyptian Movement for Change) is a loosely organized group of opposition politicians and political activists from a variety of ideological perspectives, from leftists to Islamists. Many credit Kifaya with breaking taboos against public criticism of President Mubarak. Since its start in 2004, Kifaya advocated an end to the Mubarak presidency, condemned possible hereditary transfer of power to his son Gamal, and criticized the role of the security services and the culture of corruption they believe Mubarak's leadership has fostered.
Throughout its history, Kifaya has also continued to be strongly critical of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, and rejects Egyptian normalization with Israel. As a result, official US contact with Kifaya has been limited. Members of the movement boycotted President Obama's June 2009 speech in Cairo. Long-time Kifaya leader George Is'haq, now active in a variety of other election-related coalitions, met with US Embassy Officials for the first time in July 2009. Kifaya members have been openly critical of others who deal with foreign governments, particularly the US. Following the announcement that he intended to travel to the United States, Ayman Nour, also a Kifaya member, met vocal criticism from current Kifaya Coordinator and editor of the Nasserist newspaper Al-Arabi, Abdel Halim Qandil.
Kifaya is best known for staging public demonstrations in the lead-up to the 2005 elections and its effort to rally support for judges critical of those elections in 2006. During a Kifaya-led demonstration on May 25, 2005, organized to mark the referendum on constitutional reforms (which the group still criticizes as "tailor made" for Gamal's succession), members were attacked by what were believed to be pro-ruling party thugs. The resulting international and domestic reaction allowed for additional protests in the lead up to Egypt's 2005 elections without the same kind of government interference. Kifaya also led thousands in May 2006 protests critical of GoE disciplinary action against two leaders of the Judge's Club "revolt" that followed the 2005 elections. The judges were accused of slander after revealing details of fraud and malfeasance in judicial monitoring of the 2005 elections.
Kifaya staged a protest in front of the Cairo Appeals Court on 12 December 2009 to mark the five-year anniversary of the movement's first protest on those same steps in 2004. Egyptian media report that several hundred participated in the demonstrations. However, one spectator present at the demonstration said there were no more than 100 present and that they included "plainclothes security and the media." Several Kifaya members told the private daily Al Shorouk they see the current protest as evidence of Kifaya's resurgence.
Kifaya's "reemergence" followed a lull in activity explained in part by internal conflict after the death of its Coordinator Dr. Abdel Wahab El Messiri in the summer of 2008. El Messiri (a former member of both the Egyptian Communist Party and the Muslim Brotherhood) replaced George Is'haq in 2007. Is'haq had stepped down after Islamists announced they would quit the movement following the posting of an anti-veil article on the group's website. Unlike its seminal role in 2005, Kifaya has become one of many opposition voices. The proliferation of several overlapping coalitions opposing presidential succession and pressing for free and fair elections also diluted its impact. Many of these movements are populated by Kifaya members and it has become difficult to distinguish one "coalition" and its goals from the other. Kifaya also has links to the "April 6" movement, which shares many of its goals.
Is'haq called statements by Mohammed El Baradei "good news". Other Kifaya leaders have also publically welcomed Mohammed El Baradei's call for constitutional amendments that echo their own demands. Kifaya Coordinator Abdel Halim Qandil (elected by the group in January 2009) told the media he would call for a boycott of the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections if El Baradei's "conditions," which include key constitutional reforms, were not met. Kifaya will be looking to lead the creation of a new umbrella organization for the various groups advocating reform. On 12 December 2009, Kifaya member and Egyptians for Free Elections spokesperson independent MP Gamal Zahran called for the creation of "The National Movement for a New Egypt," to "mobilize the people" and "amend the constitution." Zahran also confirmed Egyptians for Free Elections support for the conditions set by Baradei.
The group's annual elections take place in January. A rotating four-man leadership (with one "Coordinator" acting as the group's spokesperson) heads the group. A committee of 66 core members must endorse any position taken by the group. Funding for the group's activities comes from its members.
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