Egypt's Wafd Party planning to contest presidential elections against El-Sisi

Egypt's Wafd Party planning to contest presidential elections against El-Sisi
According to sources within Egypt's Wafd party, chairman El-Sayed El-Badawi's name has been suggested as a candidate to compete in the Egyptian presidential race.(Reuters)
Updated 27 January 2018

Egypt's Wafd Party planning to contest presidential elections against El-Sisi

Egypt's Wafd Party planning to contest presidential elections against El-Sisi

CAIRO: The Wafd Party announced on Friday that it was considering naming a candidate to compete in the Egyptian presidential race after the exit of all potential candidates who had previously announced their intention to run except for President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
Sources within the party confirmed that the supreme body of the party would hold a meeting to discuss the idea of running in the presidential elections and that the name of party chairman El-Sayed El-Badawi was suggested as a candidate.
After a seven-hour meeting on Thursday at the headquarters of a pharmaceutical company belonging to El-Badawi, many leaders of the party and its deputies in Parliament decided to invite the supreme body of the party soon to take a final decision on nominating one of the party leaders to participate in the presidential elections scheduled for next March. The deadline for candidacy is Monday.
Yasser Hassan, head of the information committee of the Wafd Party, said that the decision to nominate a presidential candidate stemmed from considerations of “national responsibility.” Sources who participated in Thursday’s meeting said that “the party aimed to support political life in Egypt” in the absence of any rival to the Egyptian president who is seeking a second term.
“There are international and regional conspiracies against Egypt, which prompted the party to study the nomination of a presidential candidate,” said Yasser Al-Hudaibi, a member of the supreme committee of the Wafd party.
The Egyptian political system has faced increasing criticism at home and abroad, especially from some political and media circles in the US, following the exit of potential candidates from the presidential race last week.
Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, condemned in a statement on Wednesday the “repression” by President El-Sisi against political opponents, casting doubts on the possibility of holding “free and fair” elections in Egypt.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry described McCain’s accusations as “arbitrary.” The ministry said in a statement that McCain’s statement contained “inaccuracies and incorrect information about the situation in Egypt and its political course.”
The Wafd Party also condemned McCain’s statement as blatant interference in the internal affairs of the Egyptian state.
Sources within the Wafd Party said there was deep division within the party’s supreme body over the idea of nominating a candidate for the presidential election on behalf of the party.
Ahmad Al-Sijani, a member of the Wafd Party’s supreme body, said that the party had already announced its support of President El-Sisi for a second term, explaining that there was no problem if El-Sisi runs the election alone.
Bahaauddin Abu-Zhaqqa, head of the parliamentary committee of the Wafd Party, said that the party would hold a meeting soon to resolve the decision on nominating a presidential candidate, denying any pressure on the party to influence its decision to nominate one of its leadership in the presidential race.
MP Mustafa Bakri called on the Wafd Party to participate in the presidential elections. Bakri said that the call for competition did not conflict with there being popular support for President El-Sisi.
El-Badawi applied on Friday for a medical certificate, which is one of the requirements for running in the presidential elections, as confirmed by the Ministry of Health and Population.
However El-Badawi faces a legal problem because he was convicted in several financial criminal cases.
Meanwhile, the National Elections Authority (NEA) rejected the allegations of time constraints to meet the requirements of the candidacy by lawyer Khalid Ali when he announced his withdrawal from the candidacy before submitting his papers officially.
The NEA said in a statement that the timetable for the presidential elections announced on Jan. 8 was in line with the provisions of the Egyptian Constitution requiring the start of the procedures for the election of the President of the Republic before the end of the presidential term by 120 days at least, and the results must be announced 30 days before the end of this period at least.
As for his allegation regarding the refusal of the NEA to hand him certain documents, the NEA explained that the Presidential Elections Regulation Act stated that candidates for the nomination should provide the required documents to qualify for candidacy.
Dr. Said Sadiq, a professor of political sociology at the American University in Cairo, said that the withdrawal of Khalid Ali was expected because he knew that he had no significance in the electoral landscape.
Sadiq said that “holding elections with only one candidate would be disappointing, but this is a result of the situation of emerging democracy that Egypt has lived with since the revolution of Jan. 25, 2011.”