Al-Dostour Party on Friday elected political education officer Hala Shukrallah as its new head during the meeting of its first general assembly, making her Egypt’s first female party leader.
The party also named founder and former president Mohamed ElBaradei honourary head for life. ElBaradei resigned his position as head of Al-Dostour Party in 2013 when he held an executive position as vice president for foreign affairs. He resigned from the position to protest the violent 14 August dispersal of sit-ins supporting former president Mohamed Morsi at Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda squares.
One hundred and ninety delegates from the party’s regional officers were listed to vote in the party’s internal elections, 189 of which voted, with two abstentions.
Hala Shukralla brought in 108 votes, according to official results, and Gameela Ismael, the party’s former organisation secretary, took 56. A youth list that included Ahmed Harara, an activist who lost his sight during clashes with security forces, garnered 23 votes.
“I am proud to have the trust of the party members,” Shukrallah said, after she was voted head of the party. “I am aware of the immense responsibility and I hope that all the members would share this responsibility with me.”
Shukrallah graduated from Cairo University, holds a masters degree in sociology from the University of Sussex in the UK, and is a PHD candidate at the University College of London. Shukrallah is also a professional development consultant and was responsible for the political education in Al-Dostour party before running for the party’s presidency.
Shukrallah is the first elected Coptic woman to lead a political party in Egypt
ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, founded Al-Dostour party in April 2012 with a number of opposition leaders from different political camps. Although the party was founded after the parliamentary and presidential elections, its student office, also known as El-Midan Student Group, defeated the Muslim Brotherhood students in the student union elections.
The party has suffered from several internal disputes amongst its senior leaders that led to the resignation of Emad Abu Ghazi, former Minister of Culture, and Hossam Eissa, Minister of Education.
The student office distanced itself from several of the political office’s stances. In the most significant instance, the students issued a statement denouncing the commissioning of the armed forces and the police to fight terrorism.
Mohamed Sarhan Head of Al-Midan Student Group said that the students welcomed Shukrallah’s victory, adding that the newly elected party head and her team have a vision for the development of the student office.
“I believe that previous conflicts will hopefully be resolved under the newly elected leadership,” said Sarhan.