Sawiris faction in Free Egyptians Party announces results of high committee elections

Ahram Online , Saturday 6 May 2017

Mahmoud El-Alaily was announced as president of the party by acclamation on Friday, and Ahmed Samer was elected as the secretary-general

Naguib Sawiris
File Photo: Naguib Sawiris (Photo: Al-Ahram).

The independent committee supervising and monitoring the parallel internal elections held by the Sawiris faction of the Free Egyptians Party announced on Saturday the names of 50 candidates who were elected to the party’s high committee out of 192 nominees, Arabic Ahram Website reported.

Mahmoud El-Alaily was announced as president of the party by acclamation on Friday, and Ahmed Samer was elected as the secretary-general with 479 votes.

The elections, which were attended by business tycoon Naguib Sawiris, were held on Friday at the party's old headquarters in downtown Cairo, which is no longer being used by the Essam Khalil faction.

The quorum for elections, according to the supervising committee, was met with the attendance of 1,198 out of 4,551 party members, while the total votes numbered 536.

The liberal Free Egyptian Party, which was founded by Sawiris after the 2011 uprising that toppled long-time president Hosni Mubarak, holds the largest number of parliamentary seats of any single political party.

Discord started to surface within the party last year over what some members viewed as the party leadership toeing the government line. Others, however, believed that Sawiris was overly critical of state authorities.

In December 2016, party members headed by current chair Essam Khalil voted to dissolve the party’s board of trustees after amendments were made to its bylaws.

Soon after, Sawiris was ousted when he failed to show up for questioning over accusations of libel against party members.

The board, however, refused to accept the decision, calling it a "coup" and accusing the political bureau of “hijacking" the party from its founders. Sawiris has taken the matter to court.

On 24 March, Essam Khalil organised internal elections and was re-elected as head by acclamation. Khalil was the only candidate in the election, where 50 board members were also elected out of 83 candidates.

During Friday's elections, Sawiris stressed in his speech at the general assembly that he attended the elections because of "the willingness of the Egyptian people to achieve democracy."

Sawiris has also warned Essam Khalil and his supporters that they were dealing with an Upper Egyptian who "will not give up on what he is entitled to.”

Many other political parties founded following the 2011 uprising have been hit by internal differences or mass resignations, including the Constitution Party, founded by Nobel laureate and former vice president Mohamed ElBaradei, and the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, whose former head Mohamed Abul Ghar resigned after internal dissension, citing a failure to "heal the rift" within the party. 

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