Egypt's Social Democratic Party rejects Abul-Ghar's resignation

Ahram Online , Sunday 6 Sep 2015

A senior party member says the prominent politician has 'initially agreed' to back down on the resignation in response to pressure by members

Mohamed Abul-Ghar
Mohamed Abul-Ghar (Photo: Al-Ahram)

The Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP) has rejected the resignation of its head and co-founder Mohamed Abul-Ghar, with a senior member saying Abul-Ghar agreed to reconsider the exit decision that he announced last week following talks with members.

"The party's board and its executive office have unanimously rejected Abul-Ghar's resignation," leading member of the party Faridy El-Bayadi told Aswat Masriya.

El-Bayadi added that the decision was made in the hopes of continuing “the great role" that Abul-Ghar has played since the party's inception.

Abul-Ghar, 75, said Thursday his decision to quit was prompted by destructive splits, "polarisation," and failed attempts to "heal the rift" within the party, in a move that came ahead of the upcoming 17 October parliamentary elections that the party will participate in.

But El-Bayadi said the prominent politician "initially agreed" after talks with members to backtrack on the resignation on the condition that the party's internal elections are held before the parliamentary vote.

The vote on the party leadership will now begin on 2 October, according to El-Bayadi.

Ahmed Fawzy, the party's Secretary General, said earlier that disagreements in the party are merely "differences of opinion over political stances."

Abul-Ghar co-founded the ESDP in the aftermath of the January 2011 revolution, making it one of the first to come into existence after laws governing the founding of parties were relaxed.

The social democrat took part in street protests alongside the masses during the 18-day popular revolution which toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

The ESDP won 23 of 508 parliamentary seats in the parliamentary elections held in late 2011 and early 2012, an election which was overwhelmingly won by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties.

In July 2013, He and the ESDP supported the ouster of Mubarak’s successor Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the now banned Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood.

Following Morsi's ouster, he participated in the 50-strong committee that amended in 2014 an Islamist-tinged constitution passed in 2013.

In mid 2014, the party suffered from walkouts by several of its leading members, which were sparked by differences over whether to vote or not to vote in the presidential contest between then-army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Nasserist Hamdeen Sabahi, as well as what stances to adopt on controversial policies of the post-Morsi government.

Egypt has been without a parliament since June 2012 when the lower house was dissolved after the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that the 2011-2012 parliamentary elections were unconstitutional.

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