Misr Al-Qawiya political bureau members Hassan Al-Bashbishy and Mostafa Kamshish announced their resignation on Saturday, citing anti-Islamist sentiment within the party as the reason for the decision.
“The youth of Misr Al-Qawiya have won. They decided to ‘cleanse’ the party of all former Muslim Brotherhood members and ‘old people’ and they are succeeding. They promised me they would drive me to resign within six months and today I am resigning,” Al-Bashbishy said in a statement on Saturday.
Al-Bashbishy and Kamshish are both former Muslim Brotherhood members who left the Brotherhood around the time of the presidential elections for refusing to support the group’s candidate and eventual winner President Mohamed Morsi.
They both argued that the Brotherhood should keep its promise not to field a presidential candidate and should instead back former member Abdel Moniem Aboul Fotouh.
Both left the Brotherhood and supported Aboul Fotouh in the elections; Kamshish joined his presidential campaign and later helped found the Misr Al-Qawiya Party which Al-Bashbishy joined too, both becoming members of the party’s political bureau.
The rift between them and the party’s youth began in November ahead of the referendum on the draft constitution. Al-Bashbishy and Kamshish argued that the party should vote for the proposed draft to achieve stability in the country, while the youth members wanted to vote against the draft. The party eventually officially opposed the constitution.
“Congratulations. You have won the party; enjoy it. All former Muslim Brotherhood members and ‘old people’ remaining in the party should brace themselves for a similar fate, including the party leader,” Al-Bashbishy wrote.
Kamshish also announced his resignation on Saturday in a statement, adding that other Islamist and Islamist-leaning members of the party would follow suit. He said they had sent a resignation letter detailing their reasons for leaving to Aboul Fotouh but would not publish it out of respect for him and his history.
Misr Al-Qawiya is a centrist party founded by former presidential candidate Abdel Moniem Aboul Fotouh. The former Muslim Brotherhood member identifies as a liberal Islamist but the party itself is not an Islamist one, with its core being youth from across the political spectrum who worked on Aboul Fotouh’s presidential campaign.