Wafd chairman faces party infighting, media battles ahead of Friday elections

The divisions within the veteran Wafd Party have deepened ahead of its supreme board elections, scheduled for next Friday, as its chairman, al-Sayyed Al-Badawy, is grappling with troubles both inside and outside the organization.
Essam Sheha, a suspended member of the party’s supreme board, and one of those who challenged the legitimacy of the scheduled elections, said reformist members neither recognize the panel formed by party Chairman Sayyed al-Badawy to interrogate him, nor acknowledge the legitimacy of Badawy himself as party leader.
Speaking to Al-Masry Al-Youm, Sheha said that he was nto going to attend the interrogation scheduled for Wednesday, together with other members subject to the disciplinary measure. 
He had recently also caused uproar within the party for media appearances, in which he questioned Badawy’s transparency concerning the party’s finances.
“We, as a reform front, are proceeding with political and legal measures against Badawy…and hence the halting of the supreme board’s elections on 15 May”, Sheha said.
The election opponents are objecting to holding the polls one year before their legal date in 2016. The polls will see 78 candidates competing under the supervision of judges, university professors, lawyers, journalists syndicate representatives and members of other political parties.
In addition to his battles within the party, Badawy, Wafd’s chairman since 2010, is engaging in a confrontation with media outlets.
The party has said it was going to file a complaint against Al-Assema satellite channel for broadcasting an alleged phone call by Badawy, in which he waged an attack against the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces following the 2011 uprising.
The SCAF, which held power after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak until the election of Mohamed Morsi in 2012, was publicly backed by Badawy during its ouster of Morsi in 2013.
The party accused Al-Assema’s presenter, Abdel Rahim Ali, of violating Badawy’s “privacy” by airing “fabricated calls”. According to the party, those are “attempts to undermine its nationalist history and to corrupt the political atmosphere”.
In a separate development, Badawy decried news reports which claimed he had been arrested by security forces in Quwesna, Monufiya, on Tuesday.
His lawyer said in a statement on Tuesday that Badawy was attending a police interrogation over a slander complaint filed against him by Karam Kurdy, a board member at Sigma Pharmaceutical Industries, chaired by Badawy.  
The lawyer described the reports as “irresponsible,” aimed at “tarnishing Badawy’s reputation”.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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