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Morsi's presidential advisory team loses another Salafist member

Salafist Nour Party's Bassam El-Zarqa withdraws from President Morsi's advisory team following dismissal of fellow party member Khaled Alam El-Din from similar post

Ahram Online, Monday 18 Feb 2013
Member of Salafist Al-Nour Party Bassam El-Zarqa (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Bassam El-Zarqa, leading member of the Salafist Nour Party and assistant to President Mohamed Morsi, announced on Monday that he would step down from his post as presidential advisor.

El-Zarqa made his announcement at a press conference held by fellow Nour Party member Khaled Alam El-Din on Monday afternoon.

El-Din, who was dismissed by the presidency on Sunday from his post as presidential aide, held the conference to deny reports that his dismissal had been due to the fact that he had "used his post as presidential aide for personal gain."

El-Zarqa and El-Din were both appointed presidential advisors last August, along with former Nour Party chairman Emad Abdel-Ghafour.

However, Abdel-Ghafour – who currently heads rival Salafist party Al-Watan – will retain his post as presidential consultant for 'social communication.'

Morsi's presidential team has suffered several resignations since its appointment last August, with at least 11 out of 21 presidential aides and assistants giving up their posts.

The remaining members of the presidential team include six members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which President Morsi hails.

The Nour Party, which won almost 25 percent of the seats in Egypt's parliament in 2011, has frequently voiced discontent about perceived underrepresentation in the cabinet of Prime Minister Hisham Qandil.

The party was only offered one seat in Qandil's cabinet, despite having tabled several candidates for various ministerial portfolios. The party subsequently decided to reject any position in Egypt's Morsi-appointed cabinet.

On 9 February, a delegation of Nour Party members met with President Morsi in an attempt to resolve the current political crisis and ongoing political polarisation. At the meeting, members of the Salafist party stressed the necessity of drawing up a new government more representative of Egypt's varied political landscape.

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