Al-Ahram Weekly On-line   Al-Ahram Weekly On-line
28 Sep. - 4 Oct. 2000
Issue No. 501
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Aristocratic antecedents are certainly not a condition for running on the Wafd Party ticket. They seem to help, however

Fouad Badrawi: the Pasha's apprentice

Fouad Badrawi
Fouad Badrawi
Fouad Badrawi, 47, was not only the grandson closest to Fouad Serageddin's heart, but he was also his chosen disciple. From the day of his birth, Fouad's family had wanted him to be his namesake's political heir. As such, he was the grandson Serageddin chose to pass on his political experience.

"I owe the Pasha all the successes I achieved and will achieve in my life," Badrawi acknowledges.

Badrawi was a member of the outgoing People's Assembly and will contest the coming elections in the same constituency of Talkha in Daqahaliya governorate, where his family originates. Believing that his popularity is beyond questioning, he is confident of victory.

However, winning a parliamentary seat could mean that he is more popular in his constituency surpasses his popularity within party ranks. Less than a month ago, he lost the elections for the post of party chairman -- a great disappointment to himself and the family. But many leading Wafdists are confident that one day he will be Noaman Gomaa's successor.

Badrawi graduated from Cairo University's Faculty of Law in 1976. With the comeback of the Wafd two years later, "I was one of its founding members," he recalled.

Serageddin did him no favours and "I was treated like any other member," he said. Badrawi is said to have soon proved his worth and was elected a member of the party's Supreme Authority in 1987 and assistant secretary-general in 1996.

Mounir Fakhri Abdel-Nour: Politics, Inc.

Mounir Fakhri
Mounir Fakhri
Mounir Fakhri Abdel-Nour, 55, belongs to a family whose name, like those of Serageddin and Badrawi, has been associated with the Wafd Party since pre-revolutionary times. Although he did not show an early interest in pursuing a political career, "I was always interested in politics because I belong to a family that has been involved in politics for four generations," he said. "When you live with a family that talks politics day and night, you naturally get hooked." His uncle, Saad Fakhri Abdel-Nour is the party's secretary-general.

But Mounir Abdel-Nour is also a successful businessman. He is the founder of Vitrac, a pioneer jam-manufacturing company.

Suitably, his education was also a mixture. After studying at a French school in Cairo, he joined Cairo University's Faculty of Economics and Political Science. He obtained an MA degree from the American University in Cairo (AUC), writing a thesis on "private investment as a source of economic development."

Abdel-Nour then began a banking career with American Express until he established the Vitrac Company in 1980.

A Copt, he is an active member of several NGOs such as the Egyptian Society for National Unity, El-Tanweer (Enlightenment) and the Ibn Khaldoun Centre for Developmental Studies.

Abdel-Nour is contesting the coming elections in Cairo's Al-Wayli constituency. And this is not the first time he runs for election. He contested the last elections of 1995 in the same constituency, but lost. "This time, I have great hope. I have gained experience and popularity. I am also counting on the integrity of the ballot," Abdel-Nour said.

Kamal El-Tawil: an unfinished symphony

Kamal El-Tawil
Kamal El-Tawil
Kamal El-Tawil, 78, is the man who composed the music for many popular romantic and nationalist songs of the 1960s and 70s. But it was the music he authored for Abdel-Halim Hafez for which he is most remembered. He has composed very little music since.

Music is not his only interest. Running as an independent, he became a member of the People's Assembly in 1990. But he is nominating himself this time with little enthusiasm. "I am running only at the insistence of the Wafd's chairman and many other Wafdists," El-Tawil said. He is running in the Cairo constituency of Hadayek El-Kobba. "I was also encouraged to take part because the climate of the election process is better this time," he added.

El-Tawil cautioned that "If the opposition parties do not win a large number of seats this time, any hope for a strong parliament will be dashed. Parliament will remain a decoration."

He chose to run for the Wafd Party because he belongs to an aristocratic Wafdist family. He was a member of the party's Supreme Authority but abandoned the post in the belief that there are no real opposition parties on the domestic political scene. According to El-Tawil, the poor performance of the opposition parties is not due to their weakness but to the limited scope of freedom they are allowed.

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