Egypt: Gov. to ‘purge’ semi-ruling party for corruption, despite party denial

A “sovereign entity” is preparing to carry out a shakeup among the senior ranks of the ‘Nation’s Future Party’, which holds a majority in both parliamentary houses, reported Mada Masr, citing sources from the semi-ruling party.

The shakeup, according to four sources who are members of the party’s governing body and central secretariat, follows instances of corruption and abuse of power by Nation’s Future leadership figures and is set to take place before Parliament resumes session in October after its summer recess.

However, after Mada Masr reported that authorities are planning a purge of the Nation’s Future Party over “grave financial violations,” the party announced that it will pursue legal action against the outlet.

The Nation’s Future Party denied the reports in a statement, accusing Mada Masr of lying. The party asserted that the information which Mada Masr published early Septembr was untrue.

Mada Masr, in turn, defended the integrity of its reporting and the public interest implicated in the story. “Mada Masr regrets that the party—which asserts its respect for the journalistic profession which it described as becoming ‘one of the most difficult tasks’—did not send a statement of denial for Mada Masr to publish nor publish its own denial, as is customary, and instead resorted to issuing a statement that entails the threat of security measures against journalists doing their work in some of the hardest conditions possible,” it added.

The party claimed to have noted several news items published by Mada Masr about the party and its leaders that it described as “aiming to shake the public’s confidence” in the party. The party said it would take legal action against journalists and editors at Mada Masr.

The four sources had told Mada Masr that state oversight agencies had determined that prominent figures within the party’s governing body were involved in “grave financial violations,” chief among which, they said, are instances of abuse of power and profiteering through the assistance of businessmen in the irregular construction of buildings and towers and subsequent reconciliation of their legal status in several governorates.

However, sources said that a legal complaint is being circulated among several of the party’s representatives in the lower parliamentary house for them to sign and submit to the public prosecutor, where the complaint levels charges of “insult, slander and defamation,” against the independent outlet.

The exclusive sources said that the most prominent figure to be impacted by the shakeup would be the party’s secretary general and first vice president, Ashraf Rashad, who they said was accused of abusing and profiting from his position and influence and whose fortune and private ventures have grown, they added, especially as he has de facto assumed the responsibilities of party head.

The sources noted that Rashad is soon to be removed from his position at the party, and from the helm of the parliamentary majority to which he was appointed two years ago, with a new leader set to be elected when the House begins its third legislative session next month.

Besides Rashad, the sources said, other Nation’s Future Party leadership figures are expected to be impacted by the shakeup, such as: the party’s deputy head and House Transportation Committee head Alaa Abed; House Human Rights Committee deputy head Tarek Radwan; the party’s organizational secretariat head Yehia al-Issawy; and House Communications Committee deputy head Ahmed Nashaat Mansour.

All the sources said that the coming days would see the removal of non-parliamentary members of the party’s organizational secretariat, a process that has in fact begun at a number of governorate secretariats, including in Alexandria, where many among the top ranks have been replaced by younger party members.

In addition to the instances of financial corruption, the sources noted that the party’s problems have been compounded by the recurring involvement of leadership figures in scandals, such as an incident in which party member and Aswan MP Mostafa Salman assaulted a woman and her husband at a conference in his constituency, resulting in his exclusion from participation in House sessions until the end of its second term.  

Rashad ascended to Nation’s Future Party leadership in 2016, after former head Mohamed Badran resigned suddenly and exited the political scene, saying he wished to complete his studies in the United States.

Rashad returned to the position of deputy head months ahead of the 2020 Senate elections, when former Supreme Constitutional Court head and current Senate leader Abdel Wahab Abdel Razek assumed the helm of the party.

The arrangements being made to remove Rashad, the sources pointed out, have coincided with Badran’s return to Egypt weeks ago and his assuming the role of Misr October Party deputy head as a form of public preamble to his comeback to party politics, they said.

This was also evidenced, they added, when the National Training Academy — an organization overseen by the president and tasked with managing his National Dialogue initiative — extended an invitation to him and fellow Misr October Party leaders to present their vision for the dialogue. 

A member of the Nation’s Future Party governing body said decision-making circles are yet to reveal Badran’s new role: whether he is to rejoin the party, compete with it in Misr October or establish a new party to pull the rug from under Nation’s Future in the event that local elections are to take place, or whether he will wait for outcomes of the National Dialogue that could thrust him to the fore.