As many as seven out of nine Wafd Party runoff candidates will join the second round of parliamentary elections today despite the party's decision Wednesday to withdraw from the elections in protest of alleged "widespread rigging" in favour of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).
It's not clear if the party's heavyweights — Ramy Lakah and Fouad Badrawy — are actively participating in the second round today. Sources from inside the Wafd assure that all Wafd candidates in the runoff list are in their constituencies, except for Mohamed Sherdy.
Analysts believe that the decision of Wafd candidates to run despite their party's line to boycott the elections is common to politics in Egypt. Hundreds of NDP candidates ran against the will of the central committees of the party in both this election and the 2005 elections.
"Some NDP candidates ran as independents due to problems with the party, then after they won, the party has taken them back as members," Wafd Party board member Essam Shiha told Ahram Online.
Candidates are betting on a change of circumstances after the elections: things do not continue as they are; people forget and accept what is.
"As the media was successful to push the parties to withdraw from elections, it will also be successful in changing public opinion in favour of accepting the new Egyptian parliament," Shiha told Ahram Online.
Sayed El-Badawy, head of the Wafd Party, has assured he will suspend all Wafd candidates running in the second round elections.
Technicaly this is not the sole decision of the head of the party. It goes through three levels. It should take the approval of the party's High Committee, Executive Office and then the approval of the head of the party, according to Shiha.
"I think it would be hard to implement the Article 5 of our regulations and suspend all the participating candidates," he added.
Internal splits have intensified within the Wafd Party following the decision to boycott the elections. If Wafd candidates make it to parliament, they have one of two choices: either resign from parliament, or continue as independent candidates.
Lawyers outside the party have rebuffed allegations of the Wafd's withdrawal decision being illegal. "This is a political decision, not a legal one," Ehab Salam, lawyer, rights activist and elections monitor told Ahram Online
He explained that due to the time constraints in the election rounds, emergency committees could be formed, meaning that the decision can legally hold.