Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1122, 15 - 21 November 2012
Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Issue 1122, 15 - 21 November 2012

Ahram Weekly

Party founder re-elected

Members of the Democratic Front Party choose Osama Al-Ghazali Harb as chairman, reports Reem Leila

Al-Ahram Weekly

The Democratic Front Party (DFP), founded in May 2007, held elections for a new chairman following the resignation of party chairman Said Kamel.The vote, held on 9 November, saw veteran politician Osama Al-Ghazali Harb running against Abdel-Meguid Al-Mehelmi, a member of the party’s higher committee.
Harb won 104 votes out of 112 votes. A total of 222 DFP members were eligible to vote but only 112 turned up. One vote cast was spoiled and three attendees abstained, leaving Al-Mehelmi with just four votes.
Following his victory Harb said that restructuring the party was on top of his agenda, and that he would do so in a way that would encourage those who had quit the party to return.
“Winning the election is a great honour and a huge responsibility. Leading the process of helping to build a civilian state and fighting attempts to distort Egypt’s image is no easy task. We must learn from previous mistakes,” Harb said immediately after the vote.
“We need to focus on restructuring the party from within as well as introducing new cadres to best serve the party’s goals,” said Harb.
He argued that the DFP urgently needed to win the support of activists — many of whom have left its ranks in recent years — with experience of elections ahead of upcoming parliamentary poll.
“No political party is of value if it is not properly represented in parliament,” said Harb.
The DFP’s newly elected chairman was only ever a lukewarm supporter of moves to merge the party with Amr Moussa’s Egyptian Conference Party. Discussions to that end, Harb said, were premature.
Al-Mehelmi had campaigned in favour of a political alliance.
“Political powers must reconfigure and set themselves specific goals to be accomplished within a fixed timeframe. Political powers must unite to rescue Egypt,” he argued.
The DFP was an early supporter of the protests that led to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. On 2 February 2011 the party issued a statement calling on Mubarak to step down and delegate power to a vice president. The DFP opposed amendments to the 1971 constitution and argued in favour of a new constitution being drafted ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections.
“What is going on now is a farce,” says Harb. “All political powers must be represented in the Constituent Assembly. It cannot be dominated by a single political trend.”
Harb was a member of the National Democratic Party’s (NDP) Policies Committee between 2002 and 2006 and was appointed to the Shura Council by Mubarak. In 2006 he quit NDP ranks in protest at plans for Gamal Mubarak to succeed his father.
In the 2012 presidential run-off Harb backed Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafik. 

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