EGYPT: Court orders the dissolution of Mubarak's former ruling party
Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court on Saturday disbanded the former ruling National Democratic Party that was headed by ousted President Hosni Mubarak. The move marked the further unraveling of the power structure that presided over the country's corrupt police state for nearly 30 years.
The decision is a victory for Egyptian protesters who made dissolving the NDP one of the main demands set by the Jan. 25 uprising that ended with the fall of Mubarak and his regime on Feb.11.
“The popular Jan. 25 revolution has toppled the former ruling regime and forced former President Hosni Mubarak, who was head of the NDP to step down. Now that the regime itself has fallen, it is illogical for any instruments of the fallen regime to remain,” the court said in a statement.
In a final attempt to redeem the disgraced party, newly appointed chief Talaat Sadat had expelled 60 of its former members. Sadat, nephew of late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, said the court's ruling was “politicized and not based on provisions of the law,” adding that members of the disbanded party would immediately begin establishing a “New National Party.”
Formed in 1978 by Anwar Sadat, the National Democratic Party grew to be the dominant force in Egypt’s politics. Local council leaders and governors, as well as ministers serving under Mubarak, all became members of the party, which was criticized for allegedly rigging elections to secure a majority in the nation's parliament.
Members of the party, including steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz and Gamal Mubarak, the former president's son and a ranking party official, and other businessmen, were seen as symbols of corruption in what was dubbed the “illegal marriage between money and power.”
Among a number of former ministers and prominent NDP officials, Ezz, Mubarak and his two sons, Alaa and Gamal, are currently detained pending investigations over claims of power abuse, illegal gains and killing protesters during the Jan. 25 uprising.
While Alaa and Gamal Mubarak remain in Tora prison on the outskirts of Cairo, Hosni Mubarak is being interrogated in a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh after suffering heart problems on Tuesday. General Prosecutor Abdel Maguid Mahmoud ordered that Mubarak should be transferred to a military hospital in Cairo before being moved to prison once his condition is stable.
Mubarak was expected to be transferred on Saturday but the timing of his transfer is kept deliberately vague due to security reasons. The Supreme Administrative Court’s verdicts are irreversible and it is not likely that the decision to dissolve the NDP will be appealed.
-- Amro Hassan in Cairo
Photo: Banners promoting NDP candidates with photos of Hosni and Gamal Mubarak in the parliamentary elections held last December. Credit: Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters