Amid clashes in front of its headquarters, El-Sayed El-Badawi announced — or re-announced — his Wafd Party’s withdrawal from the second round runoff of the legislative elections Sunday. The decision was made during an emergency meeting of the party's Higher Committee, with 13 votes in favour and against one.
“We have decided to neither be partners in lies nor promote a void,” El-Badawi said in a press conference today. This withdrawal does mean the party’s role has ended; rather, it will continue its political role. "We will expose this parliament by all means till we prove it is null and void,” El-Badawi added.
Some senior party figures in the runoff have supported the decision as well. Mohamed Sherdy, Fouad Badrawy, Salah Saiegh and Ramy Lakah are also withdrawing from the second round. This leaves the decision of the two Wafd Party winners and the rest of the runoff listas yet unknown. “Whoever is not going to follow the party’s decision will be expelled from the party according to regulations,” Wafd Secretary General, Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour told Ahram Online.
“The National Democratic Party (NDP) has been controlling us for 26 years; this is a step towards embarrassing the NDP,” Abdel-Nour added.
The party is proud of the decision because, according to Mustafa El-Guindy, a Wafd member who lost his seat in this election, El-Badawi was given many promises that all Wafd party members in the runoff list would win, and also some members who failed and appealed the first round results. “In spite of all that pressure, we have taken the right decision for Egypt,” he told Ahram Online. “What happened today is the return of the history of this country and the revival of the Wafd.”
Not only the Higher Committee has supported this decision but it seems that the majority of Wafd members are happy withit as well. “This election was rigged; the ballot sheets were thrown on the floor by the screening committee,” Gamal Mahmoud, Wafd candidatewho ran in the Cairo constituency of Zawia El-Hamra and who lost in the first round, told Ahram Online.
Mahmoud distributed ballot sheets, marked by voters, during the press conference today and Ahram Online has one of those sheets. “The ballot sheets for the Wafd were replaced by ballot sheets for the NDP; it wasn’t an election but a bazaare,” he added.
Other Wafd members said the withdrawal was good but came late. “I support this decision but it should has been taken from the first round,” said Mohamed Shafie, another losing Wafd candidate in Zawia El-Hamra.
On the other hand, winning Wafd member Atef El-Ashmouny, running for Matrya constituency, sent chanters into the party crowd to support participating in the second round of the elections. “Those are not Wafd members, they are soccer chanters, coming to support El-Ashmouny,” Mohamed Al-Adawi, party member, told Ahram Online.
The press conference was full of chanters shouting, “We will participate!” “Let’s dance!” while another group chanted, “We’ll boycott the elections!”. The press conference was conducted in the party HQ garden rather than in the building because it was so crowded.