By Marwa Al-A’asar
CAIRO: Al-Wafd’s higher committee has frozen the memberships of seven dissident members who defied a decision to boycott the People’s Assembly (PA) runoff elections, the opposition party’s Secretary General Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour said Thursday.
“The party bylaws will then be applied on the seven members … who won seats in the PA and the necessary measures will be taken against them after they are interrogated by a committee [formed for this specific purpose],” Abdel-Nour told Daily News Egypt.
“The party will officially inform the PA that it has no parliamentary representation in this assembly.”
On Dec. 2, Al-Wafd’s executive bureau announced that its withdrawal from the runoff elections in response to alleged vote rigging and other violations committed by the authorities during the first round on Nov. 28.
However, a number of Al-Wafd members defied the party’s decision and said that they would compete in the Dec. 5 runoffs as independent candidates. Despite this statement, six of the candidates still ran as party members while one joined the race as an independent candidate who shares Al-Wafd’s political ideologies.
The official Middle East News Agency had earlier quoted Atef El-Ashmouny, then Al-Wafd candidate in Cairo’s Matariya constituency, as saying that parties were created “to be part of the political life and to expose violations.”
El-Ashmouny said he would compete for the PA seat in the runoffs regardless of any action taken against him by the party.
Al-Wafd fielded about 200 candidates in the elections, though only two of them won seats in the first round.
The party itself defied the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC), an election regulatory body that said it was illegal to pull out of the elections after votes for the preliminary round have been counted.
SEC spokesman Sameh El-Kashef previously told Daily News Egypt that if any of Al-Wafd’s candidates win in the runoffs, the Law for Practicing Political Rights dictates that the candidate(s) can become independent Member(s) of Parliament.
“The withdrawal of Al-Wafd party from the elections is an internal issue that does not concern the [SEC],” El-Kashef said. “The law regulates the candidacy of persons, not parties.”
“The SEC can say whatever it wants,” said Abdel-Nour. “[Al-Wafd’s] stance is political, regardless of the law. Al-Wafd will not be a part of this forged parliament.”