The Egyptian Social Democratic Party has slammed President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's recent dismissal of Egypt's top auditor Hisham Geneina, saying the move protects corruption and entrenches "fascism."
El-Sisi dismissed on Monday Geneina, the head of the Central Auditing Organisation (CAO), Egypt's main anti-corruption agency, following months of controversy sparked by statements Geneina made late last year that widespread government graft had cost the country billions of dollars.
The Social Democratic Party, one of the first parties established following the 2011 revolution, said late on Tuesday that it "clearly and firmly rejects" the sacking, which it says proves the government is clamping down on anti-corruption figures in violation of the constitution.
It said that the regime is "steering towards… fascism… by disrespecting the constitution and fighting those battling corruption at a time when reconciliation is being made with the corrupt."
The party appears to refer to deals reportedly being struck between Mubarak-era figures and the Egyptian government to drop corruption charges against them in exchange for multi-billion-pound financial settlements.
The party, whose former head Mohamed Abul-Ghar helped draft Egypt's current constitution, argues that a law passed by a presidential decree last July to allow the dismissal of heads and members of independent bodies and regulatory authorities is "unconstitutional."
It added that the law regulating the organisation gives immunity to its head against dismissal.
Under Egypt's constitution, the president can only exercise legislative rights in the absence of parliament under restricted conditions of necessity.
Egypt was without parliament for over three years before a new House of Representatives was elected late last year.
"Backing the state is done through upholding the constitution, not by forming a security front… to paralyse oversight agencies and give the green light for corrupt," read the party's statement.
The presidency did not specify why Geneina was removed, but Monday's move came hours after the State Security prosecution said his corruption findings were "inaccurate."
The banned 6 April Youth Movement has also condemned Geneina's dismissal.
It said in a statement Tuesday that "the interference of the executive authority in [the organisation's] work… and the sacking of its head have undoubtedly proved that the regime is backing corruption and its influence on decision-making."
However, Geneina's removal has been praised by a large number of MPs and pro-government media figures, with many accusing him of "tarnishing the country's reputation" and "misleading the public."
A presidential commission appointed by El-Sisi had concluded that Geneina misled the public by saying corruption had cost the state's coffer 600 billion Egyptian pounds (approximately $76 billion) over a four-year period.