Friday,21 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1141, 28 March - 3 April 2013
Friday,21 September, 2018
Issue 1141, 28 March - 3 April 2013

Ahram Weekly

Party favours

Divisions within the ranks of the Dostour have led to the resignation of one of the party’s deputy chairmen, reports Mohamed Abdel-Baky

Al-Ahram Weekly

Hossam Eissa’s resignation as one of the deputy chairmen of the Dostour (Constitution) Party last Friday has led to speculation about growing rifts within the ranks of the opposition party. Eissa’s resignation came ahead of the party’s internal elections, originally scheduled in September but now re-timetabled for June. 

“I initially submitted my resignation several days ago but Mohamed Al-Baradei, the party chairman, asked me to reconsider the step. I agreed, only to find that the reasons behind my leaving remained valid,” wrote the Ain Shams law professor in his resignation letter, published on the party’s Facebook page. “Today my decision is final… I no longer belong to the Dostour Party.”

Eissa was head of the party’s steering committee.

While he did not specify the reasons behind his departure Eissa hinted that some within the party organisation were determined to keep their positions regardless of the greater party good.

“I want to express my respect and appreciation to the youth of the Constitution Party and their efforts to build the party and stand firmly against attempts by some party officials to remain in their posts indefinitely,” Eissa said.

He ended his statement by asking the Dostour’s young members to support Al-Baradei and build the party on a democratic base.

Following Eissa’s resignation the party issued a statement thanking him for his “service and dedication”.

“We have lost one of the best politicians in Egypt. The efforts which Eissa exerted to build this party are known to everyone,” the party’s statement said.

A senior party member told Al-Ahram Weekly that recently Eissa had been on bad terms with Ahmed Al-Boraai, another deputy chairman, and Emad Abu Ghazi, the public affairs committee chairman.

“The party has two wings. The first, supported by Eissa, comprises mostly younger members. The second is led by Al-Boraai, Abu Ghazi and former membership committee chairman Sameh Makram Ebeid.”

Eissa, added the source, wanted to give young cadres more influence, a policy opposed by Al-Boraai and Abu Ghazi who plan to stand for senior party posts in next party elections.

Another party member, Ezzeddin Al-Hawari, was more explicit. The main reason behind Eissa’s resignation, he said, was a dispute between him and the party spokesman Khaled Dawoud after the later opposed the publication of Eissa’s plans to restructure the party’s office in Alexandria on the Dostour website.

“Eissa pressed to have Dawoud disciplined. Al-Boraai refused and told the media Dawoud had done nothing wrong,” said Al-Hawari. Eissa’s plans, he added, were opposed because Al-Boraai, Dawoud and Abu Ghazi deemed them detrimental to their own interests.

“I have nothing to do with this crisis, the decision not to publish Eissa’s proposal about the the party’s internal elections was taken by the party leadership,” Dawoud said, “Eissa held me accountable mistakenly”

He added that he highly respects to Eissa who is considered  as a symbol of the Egyptian revolution

Two days after Eissa’s resignation a group representing the party’s young cadres issued a statement saying Al-Baradei had agreed to stage internal elections in June instead of September in order to put an end to divisions within the party.

Al-Baradei, the statement continued, was seeking to give younger members the opportunity to hold senior posts and had promised to try and convince Al-Boraai and Abu Ghazi not to run in order to make room for new blood.

“We want the Dostour to be an example of how the peaceful transfer of power should be managed,” said the group.  

The party experienced problems in January 2013 when many young members staged a sit-in to demand the resignation of unelected officials.

The Dostour, which was formed last August, has announced that it will boycott the coming parliament elections. The party is currently a member of the Egypt’s main opposition coalition, the National Salvation Front.

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