New Wafd Party

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New Wafd Party
Hizb Al-Wafd Al-Jadid
حزب الوفد الجديد
Chairman El-Sayyid el-Badawi
Vice Chairman Monir Fakhri Abdel Nour
Secretary-General vacant[1]
Founded 4 February 1978
Preceded by Wafd Party
Headquarters Giza
Newspaper Al-Wafd
Ideology Liberalism[2][3]
National liberalism,[4]
Egyptian nationalism[5]
Secularism[6]
Political position Centre-right
Religion Secular
National affiliation National Salvation Front[7]
Colors Green
Website
http://www.alwafd.org/
Politics of Egypt
Political parties
Elections

The New Wafd Party ("New Delegation Party"; Arabic: حزب الوفد الجديدḤizb Al-Wafd Al-Jadīd) (also known as the Al-Wafd Party) is a nationalist liberal[4] party in Egypt.

It is the extension of one of the oldest and historically most active political parties in Egypt, Wafd Party, which was dismantled after the 1952 Revolution. The New Wafd was established in 1978,[8][9] but banned only months later. It was revived after President Anwar Sadats' assassination in 1981.[10]

In Egypt's legislative and presidential elections in November and December 2005, the party won 6 out of 454 seats in the People's Assembly,[11] and its presidential candidate Numan Gumaa received 2.9 per cent of the total votes cast for president.[12]

Pharmaceuticals tycoon El-Sayyid el-Badawi is the current party chairman after winning Al-Wafd's internal election on 28 May 2010 against Mahmoud Abaza, who was the party chairman after succeeding Numan Gumaa in 2006.

Following the 2011 Revolution the party joined the National Democratic Alliance for Egypt electoral bloc, which is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party.[13]

As the date neared for fielding candidate lists, Wafd left the alliance and competed in the elections independently.[14] In the subsequent parliamentary elections, the Party came third with 9.2% of the vote, and was the most successful non-Islamist party. The party will run with the Egyptian Social Democratic Party in the 2014 parliamentary election.[15]

Ideology and goals[edit]

The New Wafd has tried to place itself at the ideological center between the main historic traditions in Egypt of Arab socialism and private capitalism. It has been critical of the government's encouragement of foreign private investment, advocating a more balanced approach to the relationship between private and public sectors.[16]

The party presses for introducing political, economic, and social reforms, promoting democracy, ensuring basic freedoms and human rights, and maintaining national unity.

The party also calls for abolishing the emergency law, solving the unemployment and housing problems, upgrading the health services and developing the education system.[17]

Controversy[edit]

In an interview with The Washington Times in July 2011, former Wafd Party vice-chairman Ahmed Ezz el-Arab dismissed the Holocaust as a "lie" (while accepting that the Nazis killed "hundreds of thousands" of Jews, but not 6 million), and the Diary of Anne Frank as a "forgery". Moreover, he claimed that the September 11 attacks were in reality perpetrated by Mossad, the CIA and America's "military-industrial complex", and that Osama bin Laden was an "American agent".[18][19]

History[edit]

1984 Elections[edit]

In 1984 Wafd formed an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood ahead of parliamentary elections, but the results were disappointing[13] as it won only 15% of the vote.[20]

2005–2006 turmoil[edit]

Early in December 2005 the party appeared to be in crisis following the parliamentary elections, when party chairman Numan Gumaa dismissed prominent party leader and vice chairman Monir Fakhri Abdel Nour following the poor performance the party showed during the elections.

Abdel Nour was also the leader of the opposition bloc in the outgoing parliament before losing his seat in the first stage of elections. Abdel Nour told the media before his dismissal, that the only way the party could improve would be by "changing its leadership". He also continued that there was much support within the party for such a change.

After a poor showing in the 2005 Egyptian Presidential elections, the Wafd Party split into to camps, with one group demanding that Numan Gumaa leave his post as chairman. That demand became even more pronounced after the party also did poorly in the parliamentary elections.

Later in December 2005 the party's higher political board reverted Gumaa's decisions on firing Abdel Nour as well as other members. The higher board also elections for its membership and amended its internal by-laws and rules, especially those that give the party's chairman vast authorities in an aim to trim the chairman's political powers, all of which Gumaa has agreed to support.

On 18 January 2006 the supreme committee for the party ousted its chairman Numan Gomaa from the party and from the presidency of the board of al-Wafd newspaper. The committee attributed its decision to Gomaa's tyrannical behaviour and abuse of authority.

It also appointed his deputy Mahmoud Abaza as an interim Chairman for a period of 60 days after which the General Assembly of the party would be invited for an emergency meeting to choose a new chairman.[21]

However, Gomaa contended that this decision contradicted to the party's statute and that he was the legitimate chairman who can be dismissed only by a decision of the party's General Assembly. He responded by filing a complaint to Egypt's Prosecutor General who ruled that Gomaa should be allowed access to party's headquarters. Abaza filed an urgent lawsuit asking that the Prosecutor General’s ruling be overturned.[22]

The party's newspaper Al-Wafd was suspended for thirteen days from 27 January until 8 February 2006 after Gomaa asked Al Ahram publishing house to stop printing the paper and fired its editor and some journalists, complaining of their allegiance to Abaza's group.[23]

On 10 February 2006, the party's General Assembly agreed to dismiss Gomaa from the Wafd presidency and appointed Mustafa El-Tawil (a member of al-Wafd supreme committee) as an interim president till the next elections on July 2006. Gomaa argued the decision was due to an earlier ruling by Giza's court of first instance to stop the General Assembly meeting.

On 1 April 2006, Gumaa and his supporters occupied the party's headquarters to reclaim control and opened fire on supporters of the rival faction who responded by throwing stones. Twenty three people were injured and fire broke out in the building but was brought under control. Egyptian authorities arrested Gumaa and some of his supporters.[24]

2010 Party elections[edit]

In May 2010, the party's deputy chairman Fouad Badrawi, grandson of Wafd's late leader Fouad Serageddin announced that he was withdrawing his name from the nominations for party presidency to allow El-Sayyid el-Badawi, a member of the party's supreme authority and the party's former secretary-general, to run instead in the party elections scheduled by the end of the month.[25] In a rare occurrence in Egyptian partisan life, the elections were conducted in a transparent, peaceful manner and characterized by integrity. At its end, it was announced that El-Badawi would be the new party chairman, with the outgoing president standing beside him. [26]

Since his election, El-Badawi has met with many prominent figures in Egyptian life, ranging from politicians, current members of parliament, Muslim and Coptic religious figures and even actors, actresses and football players.

To many observers, Wafd merged as a much stronger party after this election, which would be counted that would once again attract liberals who were losing grip in the current political map to Islamists and other extremists.

Role after 2011 Revolution[edit]

After the 2011 Egyptian revolution forced President Hosni Mubarak to announce that he would step down in the coming elections, the government invited opposition parties to participate in dialogue. The party's secretary-general accepted on condition that protesters would not be attacked.[27]

Representatives of the Al-Wafd Party joined anti-Mubarak protesters in Tahrir Square and vowed not to have a dialogue with government officials until Mubarak relinquished his office.[citation needed]

Parliamentary election, 2011–12[edit]

Following the 2011 Egyptian revolution, on 13 June 2011 the Wafd Party announced its alliance (the National Democratic Alliance for Egypt) with the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, to present a joint list of candidates for the 2011 parliamentary election.[28] Executive members of Wafd have criticized the cooperation of the secular party with the Islamists.[29][30] As the date neared for fielding candidate lists, the Wafd decided to participate in the elections independently, and left the Democratic Alliance for Egypt.

In the subsequent parliamentary election, the New Wafd Party won 9.2% of the vote, and 38 seats in the 508-seat parliament. It was the third most successful party, after the Islamist Freedom & Justice Party with 213 seats, and the more conservative Islamist Al-Nour Party with 107 seats. It had a slim lead over the other main secularist grouping, the Egyptian Bloc.

Prominent party figures[edit]

  • Numan Gumaa – Former Chairman and 2005 presidential candidate.
  • Monir Fakhri Abdel Nour – Longtime serving Coptic Parliament member, politician and current Party Vice Chairman.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Al-Sayed Al-Badawi wins Al-Wafd Party presidency". Daily News Egypt. 26 April 2014. Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Tens of thousands demand change in Cairo's Tahrir Square, CNN World, 4 February 2011, retrieved 20 December 2013 
  3. ^ Egypt parties' pact 'will create consensus', BBC News, 15 June 2011, retrieved 28 June 2011 
  4. ^ a b Brotherhood to run in Egypt polls, Al Jazeera, 9 Oct 2010, retrieved 20 December 2013 
  5. ^ The major opposition, Africa Confidential, 4 February 2011, retrieved 20 December 2013 
  6. ^ al-Atrush, Samer (1 December 2010), Islamists, secular party withdraw from Egypt poll run-off, Agence France-Presse, retrieved 20 December 2013 
  7. ^ Youth of anti-Morsi parties reject coalition with 'Mubarak remnants', Ahram Online, 28 November 2012, retrieved 20 December 2013 
  8. ^ "Egypt State Information Service". SIS. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  9. ^ "Al-Wafd (Delegation Party) – Egypt's Transition". Carnegie Endowment. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  10. ^ "Articles about Wafd". Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  11. ^ Egypt Update – European Forum
  12. ^ "Mubarak declared winner in Egypt poll". Reuters. 9 September 2005. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  13. ^ a b "Egypt's oldest liberal party faces controversy over alliance with Brotherhood". Egypt Independent. 7 September 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  14. ^ memri.org
  15. ^ "Wafd Party preps for parliamentary elections, rejects individual voting system". Cairo Post. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  16. ^ [1][dead link]
  17. ^ "State Information Services The New Wafd Party". State Information Services. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  18. ^ Kessler, Oren (6 July 2011). "Anne Frank a ‘fake,’ says ‘liberal’ Egyptian leader". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  19. ^ "Egypt party leader: Holocaust is ‘a lie’". Washington Times. 5 July 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  20. ^ Egypt Inter-Parliamentary Union
  21. ^ "Egyptian al-Wafd party removes chairman Nuuman Jumaa". 19 January 2006. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  22. ^ Kicked out.
  23. ^ Egypt opposition newspaper stops publishing amid leadership row.
  24. ^ "Political Clashes in Egypt Injure 23". Asharq Al-Awsat. 2 April 2006. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  25. ^ "El Badawi to run for Egypt Wafd presidency". News. 5 May 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  26. ^ "A clean election process: Lesson from the Wafd Party". Egypt Independent. 31 May 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  27. ^ "Mass protests planned for Friday as Mubarak holds on". CNN. 4 February 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  28. ^ Fadel, Leila (13 June 2011), "Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood forms coalition with liberal party", Washington Post, retrieved 20 December 2013 
  29. ^ el-Daragli, Adel (23 June 2011), "Senior Wafd Party members object to coalition with Muslim Brothers", Egypt Independent, retrieved 20 December 2013 
  30. ^ Egypt in Transition. Jeremy M. Sharp. Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs. 23 August 2011