Egypt's once ruling NDP hurtles towards oblivion

Gamal Essam El-Din , Thursday 10 Mar 2011

A flurry of resignations from the leading ranks of ousted President Hosni Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party is expected to result in its total collapse


A day after a court in Tunisia ordered that its ousted president Zine Abidine Ben Ali's ruling party – the Constitutional Democratic Rally (CDR) – must be disbanded, it was Egypt's turn today, but not via a judicial verdict. Four leading officials of the executive office of ousted President Hosni Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) decided to resign from the party's ranks this morning, leaving it in complete tatters. These included Mohamed Abdellah, NDP's secretary for Media Affairs; Mohamed Kamal, NDP's secretary for Indoctrination and Training; Mohamed Heiba, NDP's secretary for Youth Affairs; and Maged El-Sherbini, NDP's secretary for Membership Affairs.

Informed sources told Ahram Online that the flurry of resignations came after severe divisions hit the party in the last few days. Many of the NDP's members in provincial governorates refused to re-join the party's ranks unless all of its leaders linked with Gamal Mubarak, the son of the ousted President, and Safwat El-Sherif, the party's former secretary-general, were kicked out. In particular, the names of Mohamed Kamal and Mohamed Heiba were singled out as two former associates of Gamal Mubarak and Safwat El-Sherif, respectively.

The NDP's executive office has been languishing in turmoil since the breakout of the youth revolution on 25 January. Its former six-member executive office, including Gamal Mubarak and Safwat El-Sherif, was forced to resign on 5 February. A new team including Hossam Badrawi, a businessman and a reformist political activist, was entrusted with heading the party's secretariat general and Gamal Mubarak's influential policies committee. Badrawi, however, decided to resign just few hours before the ousted Hosni Mubarak stepped down on 11 February.

As a result, a new team was appointed for leading the NDP's executive office. It included Mohamed Ragab, the NDP's former spokesman in the upper house of Shura Council, as new secretary general, in addition to Abdellah, Kamal, Heiba and El-Sherbini.

Abdellah told the Ahram Online that severe divisions hit the NDP in the last few days and it became clear that the party was in total paralysis.

"At first I thought that the NDP could be resurrected again but this proved to be quite impossible," says Abdellah. He argued that the NDP was so discredited in the eyes of the public after many of its members, especially businessmen linked to Gamal Mubarak, were referred to trial, and the 25 January revolution's youth strongly believe that the NDP could be used as a tool by the ousted Mubarak to launch a counter-revolution.

"I decided to resign primarily in response to the demands of public opinion and the 25 january revolution demand that the NDP must be dissolved," says Abdellah, a former president of Alexandria University.

The resignation of Abdellah and other NDP officials is a harsh blow for the NDP. He was one of the leaders who participated in founding the NDP in August in 1978 and was the first chairman of its office in Alexandria. It was widely believed that Abdellah was a trusted member that could keep the NDP alive after ridding it of corrupt officials.

Abdellah believes that the NDP has become almost dead and that "it is better for its good faces to form another party with another name.

"There is no need for a judicial court ruling like Tunisia's to have the NDP dissolved because it has already become dead and beyond repair," stressed Abdellah.


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