Former head of Egypt’s press syndicate Diaa Rashwan announced on Wednesday that he has withdrawn from the race to run for syndicate head hours before the deadline for submitting candidacies was reached on Wednesday noon.
The union will hold elections for syndicate head and six board members on 3 March.
Rashwan said that “personal agendas” have thwarted his efforts to promote reaching a consensus that would benefit the press community.
“I decided from the beginning to delay officially submitting my candidacy in order to give potential candidates the chance to reach a consensus [regarding who should run in the election], but I found that everyone was submitting their candidacy for the post,” Rashwan said in a statement.
Rashwan had announced his intention to run for the post earlier this month to “save the profession and the syndicate from serious pitfalls” that resulted from “stances that lacked wisdom [and were made] in the name of principle” and “policies [by union leaders] that did not appreciate journalists or honour their syndicate.”
In late 2016, current syndicate leader Yehia Kalash and two syndicate board members were given a two-year suspended prison sentence on charges of “harbouring fugitives inside the syndicate's headquarters.”
The court's sentence came after two journalists, who were wanted for “spreading false news” regarding Egypt’s Red Sea island deal with Saudi Arabia, were arrested in May inside the syndicate’s Cairo headquarters.
The police raid on the syndicate was followed by protests from journalists who demanded the dismissal of the interior minister, while Rashwan accused Kallash of “failing to manage the crisis with authorities.”
Rashwan headed the syndicate between 2013 and 2015 after winning an election against Al-Ahram newspaper managing editor Abdel-Mohsen Salama.
Rashwan lost the post to Kalash in 2015.
On Saturday, Kalash announced he would be running to keep his post in a race against Salama and five other candidates.
Rashwan, 56, is a graduate of the Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences at Cairo University,
Since 2011, he has been the head of Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, which he joined in 1981.
Rashwan is known for his studies on Islamist groups in Egypt and the Arab world.