Court dissolves Egypt’s former ruling party

2011-04-16 14:37

Cairo – An Egyptian court dissolved the former ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) today and ordered its funds and property to be handed to the government, a judicial source said.

“The administrative court issued a ruling to dissolve the NDP and seize its money, and its headquarters and buildings will be handed to the government,” the source said.

The NDP, the party of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, was fighting for survival after protests forced the strongman to resign on February 11 and much of its senior leadership is now behind bars on suspicion of corruption.

Others such as Hossam Badrawi, who briefly led the party before resigning in protest when Mubarak tarried in stepping down, have either defected or are planning to form a new party.

The NDP, founded by former president Anwar Sadat, dominated Egyptian politics for around three decades, winning majorities in elections that were widely seen as rigged.

Talaat Sadat, the late president’s nephew, was appointed as the new head of the party after the revolt.

Sources said he was at today’s hearing, after which opponents of the party began chanting “The NDP is illegitimate”.

Some NDP properties were inherited from the previous incarnation of the ruling party in Sadat’s time, while others are leased from private owners, its members claim.

There are also separate, private lawsuits demanding the return of some of the buildings to their owners.

The NDP’s main Nile riverfront headquarters was torched during the revolt that ousted Mubarak and is now being fought over by the Cairo governorate, which wants to turn it into a park.

Its remaining members had hoped to contest the upcoming parliamentary election in September and argued that they had cut ties with corrupt party officials and apologised to Egyptians for “party mistakes.”

During the past decade, Mubarak’s son Gamal established a policies secretariat in the party that pushed through economic reforms and increasingly turned the NDP into a legislative power centre.

Gamal, his brother Alaa and their father have all been remanded in preventive custody as part of an investigation into the killings of anti-regime protesters.

The three are also under suspicion of corruption, as are the party’s former secretary Safwat al-Sharif and other senior leaders.

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