Egypt: Former MP Ahmed Tantawi reportedly left Cairo for Beirut to stay away from the political scene

A report published by Mada Masr revealed that former Egyptian Member of Parliament and chairman of the El-Karama (Dignity) Party, Ahmed Tantawi, left Cairo for Beirut, a few days ago, “after security directives to keep him away from the political scene and prevent him from writing in the press.

The Mada Masr website quoted two leaders of the Supreme Authority of the El-Karama Party, saying that Tantawi was forced to submit his resignation from the party following pressures from the party’s board of trustees.

Citing a third source affiliated with the Civil Democratic Movement, whose name was not identified, the report indicated that Tantawi traveled more than two weeks ago to Beirut to arrange his plans and determine the next step.

The source explained that Tantawi is seeking to obtain a doctorate, but he has not decided whether to study outside Egypt or return home again after several months, stressing that the matter is not forced exile or a threat to imprison Tantawi.

Mada Masr confirmed that it had tried to communicate with former MP Ahmed Tantawi in person, without receiving any response until publishing the report.

The El-Karama Party first source, who asked not to be identified, told Mada Masr that Former Presidential Candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi had received more than one message from a sovereign official telling him that Tantawi should be removed from the political scene in order not to obstruct the steps of the expected national dialogue.

Meanwhile, the sovereign official pledged to release hundreds of prisoners during the coming period.

The report indicated that such messages became more intense after Tantawi published an article on the El-Manassa website entitled “How can the President of the Republic be impeached and put on trial?” on 14 July, which made the El-Karama Party leadership became angry and resentful of Tantawi.

The El-Karama Party second source, who also asked not to be identified, said that all those close to Tantawi advised him to leave the country for fear of being abused, which prompted him to agree and travel to Beirut.

The El-Manassa website announced on 14 July that it had been blocked by authorities for the thirteenth time since 2017, explaining that the latest blocking also included the server of the hosting company.

Ahmed Tantawi is one of the last major opposition figures in Egypt not to be behind bars. Less than 10 days after losing his place in parliament, he won presidency of the El-Karama Party on 25 December 2020. In a political environment that continues to silence opposing voices, Tantawi and his party risk the same fate.

In a country that loves its political talk shows, Ahmed Tantawi is known to Egyptians who have regularly seen him on such program to discuss political reforms.

But having become increasingly critical of the regime, he was no longer invited to those shows, but instead was solicited by foreign media, such as the BBC and France 24.