In the middle of a crowd chanting “Dismiss them!” and “It is a shame if you keep them!” at the Wafd Party headquarters Wednesday, head of the party Said El-Badawi announced the Wafd's withdrawal from the 2010-2015 parliament.
“The high board has reached to decision: to inform the Egyptian parliament that it would have no representation this round, and that seven Wafd members will be put under investigation and have their membership frozen as well,” he said in a press conference. The decision was taken by 44 to four votes.
The high council has agreed to set a committee of five Wafd members to investigate members who disobeyed the party’s decision to withdraw from the second round of elections. Meanwhile, it was announced by the party several times last week that members who disobeyed the withdrawal order would be dismissed.
“The investigation is a step towards the dismissal of those members,” according to El-Badawi. The committee will comprise popular figures, including Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, the party’s secretary general, and Bahaa El-Din Abu Shoka, lawyer and Shoura Council member.
The announcement failed to satisfy the crowd that was calling for the immediate dismissal of the rebel members.
El-Badawi asserted in his speech that the action taken was fully legal one whereas summarily dismissing the members without investigation would be illegal. “Acting illegally would enable the members to file suits against the party and would end in court rulings enabling them to reenroll in the party within weeks,” he said.
Others questioned whether even by committee the party would stick to its word and dismiss the members in question. “I think they will continue as members in the party and in the parliament at the same time,” Essam Shiha, member of the Wafd high board, told Ahram Online.
Furthermore, legally, to have a parliamentary representation the party should assign a head among its members in the People's Assembly to represent the party. It appears this will not happen, and that, “the Wafd Party is not capable of having parliamentary representation at this time,” according to Shiha.
Many of Wafd Party members and journalists attending the press conference showed discomfort with the high board decision. In the middle of El-Badawi's speech, the crowd chanted, “It would be a shame if you didn’t dismiss them!”
The seven members sent for investigation are Tareq Sebaq, Mohamed El-Malky, Magda El-Neweshi, Safir Nour, Atef El-Ashmouny, Hamada Mansour and Mosaad El-Meligi.
Surprisingly, two Wafd Party members, Ramy Lakah and Fouad Badrawy, who previously announced that they would rebel against the party’s withdrawal decision by participating in the second round elections, are not included in the list.
“Myself and Lakah did not participate in the second round. Ramy was here (at the party headquarters) and I didn't leave my house on elections day,” Badrawy said. Lakah did not attend the press conference.