And with the Islamic parties winning a majority of votes in the first round of parliamentary elections, the working class doesn’t appear to have anyone who represents their interests...
“We didn’t have time to make our own party, or to organize behind any one candidate and none of the parties represent workers,” said Bakr Hassan Bakr, a labor activist and lawyer in Port Said. “The parties didn’t consider the labor constituency when making their platforms. The workers haven’t even been part of the political debate.”
The apathy toward workers’ issues isn’t a fluke. While there have been unions here for decades, the country’s dictatorial rulers outlawed organizing in the western sense. The state run labor unions were the only ones allowed until just a few years ago. Hossam el-Hamalawy, a leftist activist and member of the newly created Democratic Workers Party, said from the very beginning, state-run unions offered few benefits.