CAIRO: The High Committee of Al-Wafd party decided to freeze the memberships of the seven dissident MPs who defied the party’s decision to boycott the People’s Assembly (PA) runoff elections held earlier in December 2010, Assistant party chairman Ali Al-Salamy said Thursday.
Led by party chairman Al-Sayed Al-Badawy, the committee took the decision Wednesday through an internal poll. Twenty members voted for the freeze and 13 others opted for the termination of the MPs’ memberships. Only one vote was invalid.
“Freezing the memberships of these members means they are not allowed to get engaged in any partisan activities whatsoever as long as the freeze is effective,” Al-Salamy told Daily News Egypt.
The only way for the seven dissident members to regain their statues at the party is to resign from the PA.
“Based on the party’s bylaws, if any member violates the party’s call, s/he will be interrogated by a special committee…then the higher committee takes the final decision,” Al-Salamy said.
“And if any of the seven members violates the freezing decision, it will be considered a resignation from the party,” Al-Salamy added. “The freeze remains as long as the reason behind it persists.”
On Dec. 2, 2010, Al-Wafd’s executive bureau announced its withdrawal from the PA runoff elections in response to allegations of vote rigging and a number of violations believed to have taken place during the first round of the polls on Nov. 28.
Although Al-Wafd fielded about 200 candidates, only two of the party’s candidates won PA seats in the first round.
Despite the party’s decision to boycott the polls, four members defied the party’s decision, competing in the Dec. 5 runoffs as independent candidates.
Another member originally ran as independent while sharing the party ideologies.
According to Amr Hashim, senior researcher at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, the conflicting decisions of Al-Wafd to join the elections then pull out had a negative impact on the party’s’ imagine on the political scene.
“[Yet] Al-Wafd still has potential to compete over presidency since it has two members in the Shoura Council (the Upper House of the Parliament),” Hashim told Daily News Egypt. “Otherwise, the party would have never frozen these members’ memberships.”
“After all Al-Badawy is a [high-profile] businessman who cares very much about his interests,” Hashim argued.
Al-Salamy denied that the party attempted to find a room for maneuver to have a parliamentary representation, despite its earlier decision to boycott the polls after the first round.
“Had we wanted to maneuver, we wouldn’t have informed to the PA that Al-Wafd had no parliamentary representation there,” Al-Salamy argued.
However, on Dec. 13, 2010, Al-Badawy attended the opening session of the new PA in his capacity as a political party president.