Wafd controversy intensifies

Ekram Ibrahim , Saturday 4 Dec 2010

The Wafd's decision to withdraw from the run-offs has caused splits within the party and raised questions about the legality of its withdrawal

The liberal Wafd party's secretary general Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour has confirmed that three of the party's nine remaining candidates will contend tomorrow's run-offs despite the party's decision to withdraw from the elections following the allegations of wide-spread vote-rigging. 
"I'm positive that Ramy Lakah, Mohamed Sherdy and Foad Badrawy are not running in the second round of the elections, but Tarek Sebaq, Mohamed El-Malki and Atef El-Ashmouny are running in the second round," Abdel Nour told AhramOnline at 1pm today. He said he was unsure about the decision of the remaining three. 

Abdel Nour's statement comes following reports that Ramy Lakah announced to a public of "thousands" following Friday prayers yesterday that he would be running. In the Nabraweh constituency in Daqhlia, contender Fouad Badrawy is also alleged to have "spread his campaigning cars in the constituency announcing his participation in the elections", a party member told AhramOnline requesting anonymity. Badrawy, who had participated in the press conference announcing the party's decision to withdraw and boycott, had his cell phone switched off this morning and could not be reached for comment.

The internal party splits and mixed reports on participation also come amidst allegations that the party's withdrawal does not stand as constitutionally legal. The withdrawal, which was announced by the party's head El-Sayed El-Badawy last Thursday, was alleged to have been made by the members of the party's executive office, with a vote of 13-1. Constitutionally, a withdrawal decision requires a fifty-percent participatory vote.

A party source revealed to AhramOnline that the Wafd's executive office in fact comprises just eleven members, of which five were not present: One deceased member, Abdel Hamid Raslan, two resigned members, Eglal Raafat and Sameh Makram Ebied, and one member currently living overseas in Saudi Arabia, Abdullah el-Taweel, and one absentee member, Sameh Balah. Two of the 13 votes were in fact not made by executive office members.

The source further revealed that the decision to participate in the elections had been taken by the party's General Assembly, which means that constitutionally, it should be the body also voting on withdrawal. 

A lawyer in the party who requested anonymity told AhramOnline that the party's decision is not legal and may be accordingly void at any time.

Lawyers outside the party have rebuffed the allegations of the Wafd's withdrawal decision being illegal. "This is a political decision not a legal one," Ehab Salam, Lawyer, rights activist and election monitor told AhramOnline, explaining that due to the time constraints in the election rounds, emergency committees could have been formed, meaning that the decision can legally hold as valid.

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