CAIRO: Seventy-five members of the leftist Tagammu Party announced Friday that they will form the Socialist Democratic Party.
"It isn't us who left Tagammu, it is Refaat El-Saeid [the party's president] who abandoned the party's principles and is continuing to act as an ally of the ousted regime," said Aboul Ezz Al-Hariry, founder of the new party.
They had the option to “either continue fighting Tagmmu's leadership or leave the party and form a new one," he added.
They resigned after failing to add to the central committee's agenda meeting last Saturday, a request for a withdrawal of confidence from El-Saied. They said that many new members were putting their application on hold until a change took place in the leadership of the party.
The opposition criticized El-Saied for his stance during the revolution — by not supporting the popular movement — and his alleged involvement in election fraud with the ousted regime.
But El-Saied said in a press conference Sunday that he wouldn’t resign. Only the party’s general assembly next July can discharge him from his post, he added.
The 75 members issued a founding statement Friday and were set to open membership and hold a general conference soon.
The new party adopted the principles of freedom, development and social justice and gave priority to the issues of Nile water and citizenship.
"Our program might not be different from Tagammu but the people are different, a factor that is of critical importance in the implementation of ideas," Al-Hariry said.
Some Tagammu dissidents, along with other leftist and socialist activists, agreed last month to form a new party named the "Popular Coalition Party".
They said it would act as a platform for a new leftist and socialist stream capable of attracting the public, involving people in political life and promoting freedom and social justice, while criticizing the Tagammu, citing its "pro-state" policies and authoritarian leadership as a reason for establishing a new leftist party.
According to its founders, the Socialist Democratic Party also aims to unite various leftist streams and give priority to the youth in its activities.
"There are now three main leftist streams; we are planning to hold a conference with all leftist powers to decide either to unite in one leftist party or create a leftist coalition under which we can compete in various elections," Al- Hariry said.
The Tagammu Party said in a statement that it welcomed new leftist parties and that it would seek cooperation with them.