The Musicians Syndicate announced that singer Hany Shaker will replace former syndicate head Mostafa Kamel, who was running for another term but lost out to Shaker in elections held on Tuesday night, according to privately owned Tahrir newspaper.
The syndicate, which was established in the 1940s by iconic singer Om Kalthoum, has witnessed intense internal rifts in the last two years, including leadership disputes and accusations of financial corruption between former syndicate heads Kamel and Iman al-Bahr Darwish.
Darwish, who held the position of syndicate head in 2011, contested the legitimacy of syndicate elections in court after Kamel replaced him in 2013. The administrative court ruled in favor of Darwish, ordering his return to the post and Kamel’s removal. However, the ruling was never implemented, and the syndicate board aligned itself with Kamel, fighting the court order with a vote of no confidence against Darwish. Darwish is still battling to return to his post, but lost a court case on Sunday requesting that the syndicate elections be halted.
Kamel also accused Darwish of embezzling LE15,000 in syndicate funds, a charge that Darwish has since been cleared of in court.
In February, the syndicate revoked the membership of singer Hamza Namira, who has publicly vocalized his opposition to the current administration. However, following the backlash that ensued, the syndicate repealed its decision, calling it “an individual act.”
In 2014, the syndicate also revoked singer and belly dancer Sama al-Masry’s license, in a feud that escalated when Kamel sued Masry for defamation.
Following Shaker’s win, Darwish celebrated the election results on his Facebook page, warning the new syndicate head about the “swamp of corruption” that he will face.