The Conservative Party (Al-Mohafzeen) president Akmal Kortam announced Monday he was withdrawing as a parliamentary candidate from the electoral coalition running on closed-list seats “Fi Hob Misr”.
The party did not specify the reasons for the last-minute change, denying in a press release that Kortam’s departure was the result of conflicts over acquiring more seats on the list for the party.
“The party rejects the quota system in the list and refuses to turn the electoral race in favour of the motives of political parties, to obtain more seats,” the statement added.
However, senior party member Hafez Abu Seada told Daily News Egypt Tuesday that “a dispute over the party’s number of seats in the coalition was the reason behind the withdrawal”. Although Kortam has not yet officially submitted his withdrawal, Abu Seada said that the decision was final.
“The party had previously announced five candidates to be included in ‘Fi Hob Misr’ but Kortam was surprised to know we had only been allocated one place,” Abu Seada explained.
“Fi Hob Misr”, which translates into “For the Love of Egypt”, is headed by Sameh Seif El-Yazal, who, contrary to the party’s claims, told CBC Channel Monday night that Kortam wanted more seats for his party, but that “it was not possible, which resulted in him leaving the coalition, but on good terms”.
The party had one seat in the list, which was Kortam’s place. This comes two weeks before elections are set to officially kick off, but for his part El-Yazal stated there would be a replacement candidate “easily”.
On the other hand, Abdu Seada said Al-Mohafezeen has no chances in finding other lists but will be focusing on individual candidates, for which the party said it is fielding 37 members.
In the bigger picture, the coalition has been under criticism by political competitors, mostly categorising it as the “state supported electoral list for which the way to power is being paved”.
One of the major political forces behind such accusations was the Egyptian Front Coalition, led by former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq’s National Movement Party (NMP). The coalition faced difficulties in registering its candidates in all four lists divided across the country, turning against the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC), with the above accusation at the heart of the conflict.
This comes as the NMP’s Secretary-General Safwat Al-Nahhas also submitted his resignation Monday, and withdrew from the electoral alliance coordinated with Tayyar Al-Istiqlal (Independence Current) under “Egypt’s list.”
While Al-Nahhas was not reachable, local media reported that he switched to the camp of “Fi Hob Misr”.
“Fi Hob Misr” is the only coalition that is running on all four lists, which have 120 seats in the next parliament. Furthermore, its list of 15 names in East Delta has no competitors. The Free Egyptians Party (FEP), headed by business tycoon Naguib Sawiris, said it had nine members in the coalition.
Among the prominent candidates of “Fi Hob Misr,” are journalist Mostafa Bakry, former sports minister Taher Abu Zeid, and former information minister Osama Heikal. The coalition has several large advertising banners in Cairo, in addition to its members organising public conferences in Beni Suef Monday, and in Alexandria next Thursday.