Egypt's Constitution Party hit by fresh mass resignation

Ahram Online , Monday 28 Oct 2013

Liberal party founded by Mohamed ElBaradei receives crippling blow with another mass walkout by prominent members

Supporters of the Constitution party
Supporters of the Constitution party in front of the journalists syndicate in April.(Photo: Reuters)

The liberal political party formed by Mohamed ElBaradei has suffered another mass resignation.

Eleven prominent members resigned en masse on Sunday, citing a "lack of institutional organisation and vision" and heightened tension among members.

Those signing the resignation letter include founding members George Ishaq, Shady Osama El-Ghazaly Harb, Nasser Abdel-Hamid, Social Solidarity Minister Ahmed El-Boraei, labour activist Kamal Abbass and activist Israa Abdel-Fattah, as well as head of the party's economic committee Hany Saryeddin, ex-presidential hopeful Bothaina Kamel, Tarek El-Ghazaly Harb, Ahmed Eid and Mohamed Anis.

Kamal Abbas told Ahram Online he preferred not to comment "so the move won't turn into a public argument."

The embattled party, founded by former interim vice president Mohamed ElBaradei in 2012, has been left reeling from internecine fissures over the past year, with young members periodically protesting against its internal policies.

The party had already suffered a series of resignations at its offices in Cairo and elsewhere, including Higher Education Minister Hossam Eissa. A major dispute was over the appointment, rather than election, of the party's senior leaders.

"Errors were made during the founding phase and have persisted thus far...institutional organisation and party vision have been missing...and those instigating destruction and division have infiltrated," read the joint resignation letter to party leader Sayed Kassem that was released to the media on Sunday.

Leaders have prioritised the party's "image and international publicity" at the expense of clear-cut content and serious objectives, the letter said.

"This has resulted in widespread nepotism, the prevalence of hollow slogans rather than constructive content and the marginalisation of able young members."

Party executives have done little to alleviate its financial and administrative meltdown and heightening disagreements that have at times led to physical assaults, the letter added.

Party spokesperson Khaled Dawood said some of the resignations were expected, noting that Bothaina Kamel, for example, had handed in her notice two months ago.

Dawood said he had hoped the walk-out would be delayed until after the party conference in mid-December at which members could air their concerns.

"The conference aims to listen to all concerns and bring about change," he said in televised comments on Sunday. "They could have waited to see whether some people really aim to dominate the party or not."

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