Free Egyptians Party faces mass resignations of MPs in latest internal crisis

Zeinab El-Gundy , Tuesday 22 May 2018

Essam Khalil
Free Egyptians Party leader Essam Khalil (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Half of the Free Egyptians Party's (FEP) Parliamentary bloc have resigned from the liberal party and joined Future of the Nation Party, news reports said on Tuesday, in the latest partisan reshuffle of Egypt's House of Representatives.

In statements to Shorouk Daily on Tuesday, MP Mohamed El-Masood, who resigned from FEP and joined Future of the Nation party, said half of the FEP parliamentary bloc had switched camps.

"FEP did not perform well in the past period; it should have built a popular base in the Egyptian street, but its current leadership did not care for that. There has also been no cooperation between the MPs in the House of the Representatives," El-Masood said.

El-Masood believes that Future of the Nation Party is working to widen its popular base in the Egyptian street.

Founded in April 2011 by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris as a secular liberal party, FEP won 65 seats in the parliamentary elections of 2015, achieving the greatest number of seats in the House of the Representatives.

Pro-government Future of the Nation Party, which was founded in 2015, comes in second after FEP with 53 seats.

"We [Future of the Nation Party] want to be the majority party in the upcoming parliament and participate in forming the government," El-Masood said.

El-Masood's statements come 24 hours after FEP leader Essam Khalil denied that the party is witnessing a mass migration of its MPs.

"No FEP MP has resigned from the party so far. I only hear about those resignations in the media, just like anyone else," Khalil told TV host Ahmed Moussa on Sada El-Balad TV channel on Monday.

Nonetheless, MP and head of the human rights committee in House of Representatives Alaa Abed publicly announced on Tuesday that he had resigned from FEP and would join the Future of Nation Party following his dismissal as FEP's parliamentary bloc leader.

This is the latest internal crisis FEP has faced since the party spilt into two fronts -- one led by its founder Naguib Sawiris, the other by its current leader Khalil -- when the latter moved to change the party's bylaws and disband its board of trustees, which included Sawiris himself.

Sawiris sued Khalil and presented official complaints to the party's committee accusing him of "leading a coup against the party's true bylaws." The legal battle has not yet been settled.

Sawiris said via Twitter on Tuesday that he is "sad" about what is happening to the party.

"The best interest of Egypt lay in having a truly independent political party," the business tycoon added.

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