Mohamed Abou El-Ghar (Photo: Al-Ahram)
Prominent politician Mohamed Abul-Ghar has resigned as head of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party citing a schism within the group, ahead of the long-awaited parliamentary elections the party will contest.
Abul-Gahr, 75, said his exit was prompted by destructive splits, "polarisation" and failed attempts to "heal the rift" within the party.
"It strikes me that my desire for the party to have a clear social democratic ideology, to be popular and to self-finance is impossible with these disagreements raging," Abul-Ghar said in his resignation letter.
Ahmed Fawzy, the party’s secretary general, said disagreements in the party are merely "differences of opinion over political stances."
He added in comments carried by news organisation Aswat Masriya that the party has not yet accepted the resignation, saying its board will convene on Saturday to decide on a course of action.
If they accept the resignation then Ziad Bahaa El-Din, the party's second in command who served as deputy prime minister under an interim government following Mohamed Morsi's 2013 removal, will take over as acting head until a new leader is elected.
Abul-Ghar's resignation came in the lead up to the much-anticipated parliamentary elections which begin on 17 October.
Egypt has been without a parliament since June 2012 when the lower house was dissolved after the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that the parliamentary elections which finished in January 2012 were unconstitutional.
Abul-Ghar co-founded the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, one of the first to come into existence after laws governing the founding of parties were relaxed following the January 2011 revolution.
The social democrat was on the streets protesting with the masses during the 18-day popular revolution that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
The Egyptian Social Democratic Party subsequently won 23 of 508 parliamentary seats in the parliamentary election process that started in November 2011 and finished in January 2012 and was dominated by Islamist parties.
He later supported the 2013 ouster of Mubarak’s successor Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the now banned Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood.
Morsi and many other senior Brotherhood members now stand accused by the state of a plethora of various violent crimes including espionage.
Abul-Ghar was part of a 50-strong assembly which in 2013 approved amendments to a constitution that had been fast-tracked by Morsi when he was in power in 2012 and was widely faulted for embedding Islamic influence in law making and short-changing human rights.
Egyptian Social Democratic Party spokesman Mohamed Arafat told Al-Ahram Arabic news website that Abul-Ghar’s resignation also came ahead of internal party elections, and that Abul-Ghar sought to "avert pressure from party members on him to re-run for office."
Arafat added that Abul-Ghar has previously stated that he does not wish to remain in office, and that his resignation was expected.
Abul-Ghar was not immediately available for comment.