Wafd Party leader to seek presidential bid

Al-Sayed al-Badawy, the leader of the Wafd Party, has reportedly decided to run in the 2018 presidential elections, following a seven-hour meeting with party leaders, Yasser al-Houdeiby, a senior member of the Wafd Party, told Mada Masr.  

Badawy has begun processing the necessary paperwork for his medical examination, which is a requisite part of the candidacy process, and planned to undergo the physical and mental exams requested by the National Elections Authority (NEA) on Friday afternoon, just a few hours before the NEA’s deadline, according to Houdeiby.  

A parliamentary source who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity stated that Badawy will seek 20 endorsements from members of Parliament, half of which will be from the 25-30 Alliance, who had previously pledged to endorse former presidential candidate Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat. Sadat was one of five former presidential candidates who withdrew from the race, citing fear for his campaign members’ safety, given the current political context.

The decision to nominate Badawy to run in the presidential race was taken following a seven-hour meeting on Thursday between Wafd party leaders, and which included Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Soliman Wahdan, head of Parliament’s Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Bahaaeddin Abu Shoqa and MP Mohamed Fouad. The attendees had initially debated fielding corporate lawyer Hani Sarie Eddin or Fouad as possible candidates, before ultimately deciding on Badawy, according to a source who attended the meeting and spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity.

However, Fouad clarified to Mada Masr that Badawy has yet to receive the official approval of the Wafd Party’s higher committee, which is necessary for party members to obtain prior to seeking candidacy in the presidential elections, according to the party’s internal regulations. The higher committee meeting is set to take place at 1 pm on Saturday, January 27. In the event that the higher committee does not approve Badawy’s decision to run for president, he will have to run as an independent candidate, notes Fouad.

Prior to Badawy’s sudden decision to run in the upcoming presidential elections, the Wafd Party’s official stance had been to support President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s bid for a second term. Most of the Wafd Party’s MPs have already endorsed Sisi.

According to Article 36 of the presidential elections law, the elections may still be held with only one candidate, so long as they receive five percent of the total eligible number of votes. However, the state’s efforts to convince other candidates to participate in the 2018 elections appear to be part of an attempt to avoid a situation in which only the sitting president runs.

Presidential candidates have until 2 pm on January 29 to submit the necessary paperwork for their candidacy to be officially recognized by the National Elections Authority. To be eligible to run in the 2018 presidential election, Egypt’s Constitution and presidential elections law stipulate that candidates must collect endorsements from at least 20 members of Parliament, or from 25,000 eligible voters from 15 different governorates, with a minimum of 1,000 endorsements from each governorate.

AD