Battle of the Camel in Tahrir (Photo: Reuters)
The Free Egyptians party, leader of the liberal Egyptian Bloc electoral coalition, has announced its decision to eliminate top candidate Sami Fotouh from the bloc’s electoral list in the Menoufiya governorate’s Qesna constituency due to his past association with the now-defunct National Democratic Party (NDP) of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
According to a party statement issued on Sunday, “compelling evidence” proves that the candidate had been an NDP member who had actively worked to thwart the progress of Egypt’s January revolution.
Fotouh reportedly stands accused of involvement in the notorious “Battle of the Camel” that took place on 2 February, in which hundreds of NDP-hired thugs attacked protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square with swords and bricks.
“The Free Egyptians apologises to all Egyptians, especially those from Menoufiya, for not choosing the right candidate to top the list in the Qesna constituency,” the statement read.
“He [Fotouh] unequivocally turned out to be a staunch loyalist of the dismantled NDP, although he had formally resigned from the party. He has also worked against the interests of the January 25 Revolution,” the statement added.
“The [Free Egyptians] party stresses that it will not replace him, as the rest of the electoral list remains untouched. What’s more, the party coordinator responsible for Menoufiya will be suspended and investigated on charges of providing incomplete and false information about the candidate,” the statement stressed.
“Based on the party’s promise to the people that it would maintain transparency, we apologise for this inadvertent mistake. We also vow to take all necessary steps to prevent similar mistakes from happening again,” the statement went on.
It concluded: “We refuse to include such individuals within the ranks of our party, as we are working to fulfil the goals of our revolution."
The formerly ruling NDP, which monopolised Egyptian political life for three decades under Mubarak, was dissolved by court order in the wake of the popular uprising in January that culminated in Mubarak’s ouster.
Some former NDP figures have attempted to establish a foothold in Egypt’s post-revolution political arena by joining newly-established political parties and taking part in parliamentary polls on those party’s electoral lists. Others, meanwhile, are contesting elections as independent candidates.