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Al-Dostour Party in dispute over parliamentary elections’ participation - Daily News Egypt

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Al-Dostour Party in dispute over parliamentary elections’ participation

Free Egyptians Party slams accusations of “buying candidates”

Renewed disputes erupted inside Al-Dostour Party over their participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections, as the party is currently divided into four camps, with regards to internal party elections soon to be held.

On the one hand, the “We will build alternatives”, campaign supporting candidate Tamer Gomaa as party head issued a press release Monday, declaring the party’s decision to take part in the elections. The campaign stated that “some political obstacles were removed and others remain, but party members were free to join any electoral lists”.

Shortly after, the “Together we can” campaign supporting candidate Mohamed El-Gamal responded to the announcement by issuing a separate press statement saying that all groups operating inside the party currently do not officially represent it, as the party awaits the election of its internal acting figures.

“Thus the party maintains its boycotting of the elections, given the fact that legislations surrounding the parliament do not guarantee fair representation, in addition to other controversial political laws which obstruct the democratic process,” the second campaign stated.

The Al-Dostour Party, along with several opposition parties forming the Democratic Current, had previously stated several reasons for boycotting elections when they were supposed to be held last March. Those were related to ongoing political restrictions in Egypt, and strongly influenced by the murder of Shaimaa Al-Sabbagh.

The party’s youth is less inclined to participate in parliamentary elections. No police officers were ever charged with Al-Sabbagh’s murder, leading to the party reconsidering its position.

On the other hand, the Free Egyptians Party (FEP) responded to different allegations.

“How can a party be accused of picking up the wealthiest parliamentary candidates among businessmen, and at the same time of paying off candidates to run under its name in the elections?” said FEP spokesperson Shehab Waguih in a Monday press conference.

The party was recently accused of seeking ‘popular’ candidates and former MPs to ensure more parliamentary seats, in exchange for totally or partially covering their electoral campaigns. “The more the FEP is attacked, the more we believe we are on the right track,” Waguih said.

“But I can assure you that our candidates are the best, and most patriotic,” he continued. In response to Daily News Egypt’s question on the definition of a ‘patriotic candidate’ Waguih said that there were three standards the FEP depended on to determine that.

“A candidate has to have a good reputation, based on survey polls conducted in his neighbourhood, believe in the same ideologies and principles of the party, which were agreed upon through a series of meeting with our leading members, and finally enjoy popularity in his electoral constituency.

Waguih further stated that another accusation directed at the FEP was their exclusion of religious groups, as opposed to accusing them of secretly working with political Islamists, both of which were untrue, he said.

The FEP has been speaking of having achieved success over the past months in its grassroots efforts in different governorates of Egypt. The FEP members have joined the “In the love of Egypt” electoral alliance, but the party is yet to announce further details on number of candidates.


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