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Troubled Constitution Party hit with 54 resignations in Egypt's Alexandria

Members resign in protest at internal party policies; some within the party say the resignations are a result of personal failures

Ahram Online, Wednesday 16 Oct 2013
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Supporters of the Constitution party in front of the journalists syndicate in April.(Photo: Reuters)
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Views: 2112
Fifty-four members of Egypt’s liberal Constitution Party office in Alexandria submitted their resignations in protest at the troubled party's internal policies, the state-owned daily Al-Ahram reported Wednesday.
Those resigning include deputy secretary-general and head of the Alexandria office Mostafa Saeed, as well as the treasurer and heads of several committees in the Alexandria office. 
Resigning media head Hazem Arafa told Al-Ahram that the members' action came in protest at the party’s concentration on its political project while lacking a "realistic economic programme" and also lacking a "large popular base" that could support the party in upcoming elections. 
Arafa added that in his view there isn't enough funding for the party's activities and that the party does not have competent cadres able to assume office in the government.
Meanwhile, Haitham El-Hariri, a founding party member in Alexandria, said that the resignations came as "cover" hiding the members' failure to manage the party and a recent decision to freeze their membership.  
On 14 October, the party officially ordered the membership of Saeed and three others in Alexandria frozen pending investigations. However, the statement did not make clear the accusations facing these members. 
The Constitution Party, founded by opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei in 2012, has been facing internal strife in the past year with youth sit-ins against some internal policies and a number of its leading members - including legal expert Hossam Eissa - tendering their resignations.

Haytham El-Khatib, a founding party member, told Ahram Online that the resignations are a typical outcome of ongoing strife taking place within the party.

"I expect more resignations to take place soon," he said.

El-Khatib says the party is deeply divided with rival groups competing for leading positions in the party, creating tensions and weakening the group. He adds that many members are now no longer actively participating in the party.

"We used to have a strong intellectual and youth membership," he said, adding that this isn't the case now.

El-Khatib spoke of a sit-in young party members staged earlier in 2013 calling for internal change within the party, saying that they had a noble cause of forming a strong party that could compete politically to fulfill the demands of the 2011 revolution.

However, he says, this youth movement was hijacked by "opportunists" within the party leading to internal tensions.

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17-10-2013 04:06am
Political Party or Cult Personality
The Constitution Party is similar but not typical of the other political parties in Egypt. Most parties revolve around a person or a group of people with a well defined line of succession and all is needed after that is to add members that need only to fog a mirror and pay party dues. The Constitution Party however exceptionally attracted well educated, politically active young people that can do more than fog a mirror. After ElBaraday stepping aside in disgust of the political process, the struggle for the leadership of the party began. Here the membership started to assert its power which potential successors didn't like, so they are leaving in droves, not content to step down and become regular members and in the process making all kind of excuses of why they are leaving the party.
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