Friday,20 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1280, (28 January - 3 February 2016)
Friday,20 October, 2017
Issue 1280, (28 January - 3 February 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Future divisions

Despite winning 50 seats in parliament, members of the Future of the Nation Party are unhappy, reports Mohamed Abdel-Baky

Al-Ahram Weekly

The Future of the Nation Party denies it is facing a potential split following the reported resignation of hundreds of the party’s members.

In a statement released on Thursday, the party claimed that its central committee had not received a single official letter of resignation.

“Mass resignations from the party, as reported in the media, are unsubstantiated rumours,” it said.

The statement was released after more than 300 members in five governorates indicated they intended to resign to protest the manner in which the Future of the Nation’s secretary-general, Ashraf Rashad, had changed the leaders of provincial sub-committees. Rashad is currently acting as president of the party in the absence of Mohamed Badran, who is attending a leadership development course in the US.

Leading members of the party in Sharqia, Ismailia, Suez, Qena and Sohag used the Future of the Nation’s Facebook page to post resignation letters signed by hundreds.

“We do not accept the way the secretary-general is attempting to replace local leaders without first consulting the local party,” said Nahed Abdel-Razek, a senior party member from Qena.

She accused Rashad of seeking to promote figures once affiliated with the Mubarak-era National Democratic Party (NDP).

“Favouring figures implicated in political corruption under Mubarak could lead to further resignations,” said Abdel-Razek.

Party spokesperson Ahmed Samy told Al-Ahram Weekly that the party has formed a committee to investigate the issue.

“We understand that some members are unhappy with changes in the local leadership. We are seeking to ensure everybody is part of the decision-making process. Disagreement between members is always possible but should be contained,” he said.

Founded in 2013 by its current president, 24-year-old Mohamed Badran, the Future of the Nation Party won 50 seats in last year’s parliamentary election. Badran first came to public attention in August 2015 when TV broadcast footage of him standing next to President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi on the former royal yacht Al-Mahrousa during the opening of the second channel of the Suez Canal.

Asked during an interview with the BBC how the party could fund its candidates and many offices, Badran said it was supported by a number of wealthy businessmen. The names he provided — Ahmed Abu Hashima, Mansour Amer Kamel Abu Ali and Kamel Abu Reida — were all known to have financed candidates who once stood for the now-defunct NDP.

Badran’s political career began when he was a student. A vocal opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence on university campuses, in 2013 he beat the group’s candidate to become president of the student union. He became the student representative on the 50-member Assembly that drafted Egypt’s current constitution and later joined President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi’s presidential election campaign.

“We are a new party and what is happening is normal. It takes time for any new party to develop mechanisms to manage internal disagreements,” said Rashad. He stressed that he will only be serving as president for a month, until Badran returns from the US.

“We are working hard to stabilise the party and make it more effective. We will only be able to reach out to large numbers of citizens if we have strong local offices, which is why we are undertaking these reforms.”

According to Rashad, the restructuring plan began after the parliamentary elections, when a team of experts was commissioned to evaluate the performance of local branches.

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