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Egypt’s Wafd Party says internal rift 'over'

The party's Reform Front has accepted a first step towards reconciliation, but on certain conditions

Monday 25 May 2015
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi meets with Egypt's oldest liberal party leaders on 13 May,2015 over internal political crisis concerning the party (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Views: 2879

Egypt’s Wafd Party has said that an internal rift between some of its members and party head El-Sayed El-Badawi is over, but these members have set certain conditions for reconciliation.

The conflict, which saw the intervention of the president himself to reconcile both parties, started in early May when at least 1,200 members, calling themselves the Wafd’s Reform Front, met in the Nile Delta governorate of Sharqiya, announcing that they were withdrawing their confidence from party head El-Sayed El-Badawi.

The right-of-centre party's leader El-Badawi responded on the same day, suspending the membership of eight prominent members of the party’s high board.

In a statement published late on Sunday, the party has now announced the re-appointment of seven previously-suspended members to the high board. These had been unable to run in the party's internal elections in mid-June due to their suspension.

The seven members were given 48 hours to accept or turn down the appointment.

“Their acceptance of the appointments will be a new beginning and an obligation for all to work side by side to address national issues and risks to the country and for the wellbeing of the Wafd Party,” read the Wafd Party statement.

In their own statement on Monday, the Reform Front responded that it accepted the seven party members' re-appointment, but with certain conditions.

General assembly elections

According to its statement, the Wafd Party accepts resorting to Egypt’s judiciary to examine a Reform Front claim of a "malfunction in the party’s internal structure".

One of the Reform Front’s demands has been to amend the party’s bylaws so that members of the party’s general assembly can be elected, not appointed by the party head as is currently the case.

“We welcome amending, updating and developing party bylaws at any time to keep up with the country’s political developments,” read the Wafd Party's official statement.

The Reform Front’s statement called for a clear timeline to agree on new amended bylaws, as well as an “interim period” followed by new polls to elect the party’s head and high board.

Reinstating party members

The Reform Front originally sought to change the party’s bylaws because they said that, since El-Badawi’s election as party head in 2010, he has removed 800 members from the general assembly, and appointed 1,200 new members, as well as suspended members who didn’t agree with his policies.

At least 115 members have been thrown out of the party since 2013.

The party’s statement also addressed the return of suspended party members, stating that a committee would discuss their return case-by-case, upon a request from each suspended member.

El-Badawi “forgives and accepts the return of any member who was suspended for insulting the party’s head” and these members need not file a request for return, it said.

But the Reform Front has called for immediately reinstating all suspended members, without conditions or review by a party committee.

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