Egypt’s political parties see internal disputes over parliament elections

Sarah El-Sheikh
6 Min Read

Divisions have arisen inside the Free Egyptians and Al-Wafd political parties, as Egypt’s political parties prepare to run campaigns for the upcoming House of Representatives elections on 24 October.

Tensions are running high among Al-Wafd Party members over the quota of seats for each party in the National List for Egypt’s parliamentary elections next month. The Free Egyptians Party has seen the resignation of one of its top members, who accused the administration of weakening the party’s position.

It was expected that, by Wednesday evening at the latest, all parties would announce the names scheduled to enter the electoral battle under the “National List for Egypt” coalition, or on each party’s individual system.

Members of the Al-Wafd Party’s Higher Committee decided to hold a further meeting on Thursday, whilst also postponing their decision on whether to participate in the House of Representatives’ National List or not.

According to local media outlets, the majority of the Higher Committee’s members in attendance agreed to withdraw the party from the list during the discussions. They are, however, waiting for Thursday’s meeting before taking the final decision on that.

According to further media reports, the committee’s meeting on Monday saw a dispute arise among party members, in the absence of Head of the party Bahaa Abu Shaqqa.

The latter had announced his withdrawal from negotiations with the national list for the parliamentary elections, instead delegating his participation to the party’s Secretary General, Fouad Badrawi.

The crisis has arisen due to a state of anger among the members of the party’s supreme body, in addition to their having obtained only 20 seats on the National List for Egypt, half of what Abu Shaqqa had promised. Members had demanded the party’s withdrawal from the list as a result of the significant cut in seats.

The lower number of seats was also the reason behind the Al-Wafd Party’s Supreme Committee convening, on Monday evening, to consult on the party’s participation in the National List for elections. A number of the delegation’s leaders were asked to withdraw from the list due to the small number of seats allocated to the party.

During the meeting, Deputy Chairman of the Special Committee for the Youth of the Party Radi Shamikh announced that they would enter an open sit-in and a hunger strike inside the party’s headquarters.

In troubles elsewhere, the head of the parliamentary committee at the Free Egyptians Party, Ayman Abu Al-Ela, submitted his resignation from the party. The move came in protest to what he described as “the recent mismanagement of Essam Khalil, the party leader”.

In a press release, Abu Al-Ela noted that Khalil’s administration of the party had “weakened and drowned” it, despite having previously been a tour de force in Egyptian politics off years of effort by party members nationwide.

Abu Al-Ela confirmed that Khalil had refused to enter the national list for the Senate elections, after allegedly objecting to the number of seats.

Khalil had also allegedly arbitrarily dismissed members who entered last month’s Senate elections, after he refused to form a committee to coordinate with other parties regarding the elections.

Additionally, Abu Al-Ela claimed that Khalil had refused to listen to Members of Parliament (MPs) and the Political Bureau.

Khalil responded to the accusations, saying, “There is no room for debate, but we want to ask why Abu Al-Ela did not resign a year ago, if he sees that we are not an institutional system contrary to reality.”

Khalil stressed that although he has the authority to make decisions through the party’s statute, he preferred to raise the election issue before the party’s supreme body for it to take a decision.

He added that the Supreme Committee decided to participate in the parliamentary elections as part of the national list and on individual districts at the provincial level.

Khalil added that the party will push forward with other election participants that have programmes and visions, as the party’s first goal is to serve Egypt under the current circumstances.

The National List for Egypt coalition includes 12 political parties: Mostaqbal Watan; Al-Wafd; the Guardians of the Nation Party; Modern Egypt Party; the Egyptian Socialist Democratic Party; the People’s Republican Party; the Reform and Development Party; Tagammu Party; the Generation’s Will Party; the Egyptian Freedom Party; the Justice Party; and the Congress Party.

The National Elections Authority (NEA) announced only a few days ago that registration for candidates applying to take part in the House of Representatives elections will open on 17 September. The elections, themselves, will take place over two stages, between 21 October and 14 December.

A total of 568 seats will be up for grabs in Egypt’s upcoming House of Representatives elections, while another 28 seats (5%) will be appointed by the president, bringing the chamber seats to a total of 596.

The 568 seats are split equally between individual and party list deputies, in which there will be 284 candidates from each category. The House of Representatives election law stipulates that 25% of the total seats must be reserved for women.

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