Tagammu Party leaders call for vote of no confidence in party chairman

Tagammu Party leaders declared their opposition to the party's continued participation in the parliamentary elections in an internal meeting, calling for a vote of no confidence in Party Chairman Rafaat al-Saeed.

The group held the meeting in the party alternate headquarters after being shut out of the official party headquarters.

Talaat Amin, Tagammu Party secretary in Giza, said that he submitted a request on Thursday to the Secretary General Sayyed Abdel Aal to hold a meeting, however when members arrived Friday they found security forces had closed the headquarters and the surrounding area. Some members confronted police, but the group ultimately decided to move the meeting to the alternate headquarters.

Meeting attendants agreed to propose a motion for a vote of no confidence in al-Saeed, opposing the party's decision to participate in run-off elections despite widespread allegations of electoral fraud during the first round last Sunday.

Party Vice President Anees al-Beaa' said that he and party secretaries from seven governorates intend to call another meeting to call for the withdrawal of the six Tagammu candidates that advanced to the run-off elections. Allowing Tagammu party candidates to enter fraudulent elections, al-Beaa' said, was "a slap in the face" to the party.

Several prominent members including Al-Saeed, Aal, Vice President Sameer Fayyad and Assistant Secretary General Mohamed Saeed were among the supporters of continued participation when the party decided not to pull out of the elections at an earlier meeting.

Tagammu Central Committee member Abdel Ghafar Shukr opposed, saying that continued participation would "give the regime legitimacy it does not deserve, because these elections are rigged."

"The Tagammu party's statement itself says that these are the worst elections in Egypt's history. How can they say that the elections are fraudulent but continue participating in them?" asked Shukr.

Shukr said that the Central Council should hold a meeting to discuss Tagammu collusion with the government. According to Shukr, the party chairman did not invite the whole Political Office or Central Secretariat because he knew that both bodies would support withdrawal, while he invited Tagammu candidate Ikram Labib, despite the fact that he was not a member of either of the leadership bodies.

On Wednesday, the Muslim Brotherhood formally withdrew from the parliamentary contest. The opposition liberal Wafd Party followed suit on Thursday.

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