Dismissal of Salafist aide not linked to political affiliation: Egypt presidency
Recent sacking of Salafist presidential aide not driven by political considerations, presidency asserts; Move is expected to widen rift between Egypt's Brotherhood, Salafist Nour Party
Ayat Al-Tawy, Tuesday 19 Feb 2013
Former presidential advisor for environmental affairs Khaled Alam El-Din (Photo: Ahram Arabic)
The dismissal on Sunday of President Mohamed Morsi's Salafist advisor Khaled Alam El-Din was as an attempt to prevent the presidency's image from being tarnished, the presidential office asserted in a Tuesday morning statement.
Alam El-Din, appointed last August as the president's advisor for environmental affairs, is a leading member of the Salafist Nour Party.
"The dismissal had nothing to do with [Alam El-Din's] political affiliations," the statement read. "The presidency maintains its respect and recognition of all political parties and the vital role they play in enriching the Egyptian political scene, including the Nour Party."
Alam El-Din, for his part, says he has yet to be officially notified of the decision. He has also vowed to sue the presidency for alleged slander.
In a furious response to the move on Monday, Nour Party spokesman Nader Bakkar said on Twitter: "If the presidency's dismissals are based merely on allegations, so then President Morsi should resign given that some of his subordinates are suspected of having intentionally killed protesters."
In a similar vein, leading member of the moderate-Islamist Wasat Party on Tuesday bashed the methods employed to sack Alam El-Din and how allegations against him had been aired in public.
Alam El-Din, who broke down in tears during a televised news conference held by his party on Monday, denied allegations that he had abused his presidential advisory post, describing his dismissal as a "stab in the back by those that I trusted."
The dismissed advisor also lambasted the presidency for its alleged inability to administer the country, an accusation that has served to heighten mounting tension within Egypt's Islamist current.
Nevertheless, party head Younis Makhioun declared on Facebook: "The party remains devoted to serving the country in pursuit of justice, reform and cohesion."
For its part, the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, from which President Mohamed Morsi hails, denied that it had played any role in the decision.
On Monday, another Salafist adviser to the president resigned in solidarity with Alam El-Din. Basam Zarqa, also a member of the Salafist Nour Party, resigned in protest after the presidency refused to issue an apology for sacking Alam El-Din.
The dismissal of Alam Al-Din and the ensuing resignation of Zarqa represent another sign of tension between President Morsi's Brotherhood and its Islamist ally ahead of Egypt's upcoming parliamentary elections, which are expected to see fierce competition between the two Islamist parties.
A recent initiative proposed by the Nour Party, in which it joined forces with the opposition National Salvation Front (NSF), adopted several of the opposition's demands. The party's ongoing criticism of the government's methods of dealing with anti-state protesters has also served to foster divisions within the Islamist current.
The rift between the country's two leading Islamist parties is expected to deepen after the High Constitutional Court on Monday rejected a draft parliamentary elections law presented by Egypt's Islamist-led parliament.