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Friday, 22 November 2019

Egypt's Wafd Party renews confidence in Abu Shoqa as head, expels rival El-Badawi

The party's vote of confidence in president Bahaaeddin Abu Shoqa came after a stormy meeting held on Sunday to deal with a major internal rift

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 3 Sep 2019
Yasser El-Hodeibi
The deputy chairman of the party Yasser El-Hodeibi (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Bahaaeddin Abu Shoqa, the chairman of Egyptian parliament's constitutional and legislative affairs committee, has won a vote of confidence in his leadership as head of the Wafd Party,  Egypt's oldest political party.

The deputy chairman of the party Yasser El-Hodeibi told reporters on Tuesday that Abu Shoqa won the confidence vote at a meeting on Sunday night.

"Members of the Wafd's High Council also voted in favour of stripping El-Sayed El-Badawi, the party's former chairman and a famous drugs tycoon, of membership," said El-Hodeibi, adding that "three other party officials also lost their membership after they were found guilty of joining an illegitimate entity called the Front of Correcting the Path."

"The party decided to expel all members who attended a Front of Correcting the Path meeting led by El-Badawi and held on 8 August, though they were given a one-week chance to change their positions and swear loyalty to the party and its legitimate president, Bahaaeddin Abu Shoqa," he added.

According to El-Hodeibi, the decisions taken on Sunday night aimed to keep tWhe afd stable and intact.

"The party's democratically elected president, Bahaaeddin Abu Shoqa, was mandated to take all measures necessary to keep the party and its internal structures stable and immune to internal rifts," he said.

Yasser Qora, a member of the self-labelled Front of Correcting the Path, told Ahram Online that the Wafd Party has lost a lot of its former influence on the Egyptian political scene.

"Many figures have resigned from the party in recent years, largely due to the dictatorial policies of its current chairman Bahaaeddin Abu Shoqa, and as a result the party has become weak and severely fragmented," said Qora, adding that "the Wafd obtained its prestige and influence when it was a strong opposition party doing its best to spread democratic values and standing up to autocratic rulers in Egypt."

"Instead of reviving the Wafd's great liberal heritage and struggle for democracy, the party's chairman Abu Shoqa is currently doing its best to dismiss all members who say no to his policies or try in any way to challenge his leadership," said Qora.

Qora said the Front of Correcting the Path was formed in an attempt to reinvent the Wafd as a major liberal opposition party.

"We hoped that the Sunday night meeting would represent a kind of internal dialogue and put the party on the path to reform," said Qora.

El-Hodeibi said "the dissident camp” is doing the Wafd great harm.

"This comes just one year before parliamentary elections are held," he said, adding that "the party's leadership have decided to leave the door open to those who want to relinquish the Front of Correcting the Path and keep the party stable and strong."

Many of Egypt's political parties are suffering from internal splits, meaning it will be difficult for any single grouping to gain a significant number of seats in the coming elections.

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