The chairman in Wafd Party MP Bahaa Abu Shaqa (Photo: Ahram)
Egypt's longest-standing political party has been passing through hard times recently, and over the past few days has been divided into two rival camps, each issuing a statement on the party's participation in the parliamentary elections.
The Wafd Party's chairman Bahaaeddin Abu Shoqa said in a statement yesterday that it is important that the party participates in the parliamentary elections, scheduled to begin on 21 October.
"I met with the party's secretary-general Fouad Badrawi and see that it is important that the party maintains unity in the coming stage, and I also affirm that the party should participate in the parliamentary elections," said Abu Shoqa, adding that "the majority of the party's Higher Council agree that the party's participation in the parliamentary elections comes through joining the National Unified coalition which will contest 284 seats reserved for party lists."
The Wafd Party's deputy chairman Mohamed Abdou, however, said that internal divisions have recently rocked the party, and the way out of this is to hold elections to choose a new chairman.
Abdou said in a TV interview on Saturday evening that the majority of the members of the party's Higher Council reject the chairman's decision for Al-Wafd to run in the elections as part of the Mostaqbal Watan party-led National Unified List coalition.
"The party chairman's decision was made even though the list will include very few Wafd candidates, and that this is not fair for the party's future," said Abdou.
Abdou said the majority of members want Al-Wafd to have no less than 40 candidates on the National Unified List.
"But the Mostaqbal Watan Party, which leads the coalition, wants to field the largest number of candidates on the List at the expense of other political parties," said Abdou.
Internal divisions have also hit other political parties due to disagreements on participation in the parliamentary elections. The divisions have so far prevented coalitions from submitting applications to contest the 284 seats allocated to party lists.
Meanwhile, hopeful candidates in Egypt's parliamentary elections have until next Saturday to submit their nomination bids to the National Election Authority (NEA). The two-stage elections will kick off on 21 October and wrap up on 8 December.