The Free Egyptians Party (FEP) suspended party member May Mahmoud following internal party conflicts that erupted over Mahmoud’s decision to join a parliamentary coalition that is being formed by Sameh Seif El-Yazal named ‘Egypt’s Support.’’
Mahmoud attended a meeting for the new coalition on Friday, and signed the coalition’s declaration, despite an earlier decision by the party forbidding its members from joining the coalition. Another five party members will be called in for questioning over their attendance at the meeting.
“Mrs Mahmoud will face investigations for her actions and press statements that aim at tearing the party apart,” the FEP said in an official statement following a party meeting on Saturday.
The coalition was announced shortly after parliamentary elections were completed, when Seif El-Yazal, who led the electoral list known as ‘For the Love of Egypt’, issued a declaration calling on members of the list and other parliamentary members to “drop” their political affiliation and join the coalition.
“The declaration of that so-called coalition looks exactly like that of a political party, only without a licence. What is happening is aimed at disrupting our party and oppressing political life,” the statement continued, describing Seif El-Yazal’s moves as “dangerous”.
Before the election, certain FEP members were in talks with El-Yazal to have nine party members join the ‘For the Love of Egypt’ list. However, these nine members chose to run as individuals under the FEP banner.
By law, those members should act under the name of the FEP inside the parliament. Therefore, the coalition was strongly rejected by the FEP. In a press conference held on 7 December, party spokesperson Shehab Waguih said: “The coalition did not present any programme or vision for us to decide to be part of it or not”.
The FEP won 65 seats in the parliamentary elections. Its electoral strategy included fielding candidates who joined the party just ahead of the elections. The party was accused of “buying off” candidates who have high chances in winning.
The FEP however denied these claims, saying that on the contrary, candidates wanted to join the party to be empowered in the elections. Emad Raouf, the FEP’s political bureau member, said the party established “criteria for eligible parliamentary candidates”.
In a previous interview with Daily News Egypt, Raouf admitted that the party targeted “local stars” in the elections, but that there was no mechanism of control as to whether members would “maintain their loyalty to the party” once elected.