By MAHMOUD HEGAZY
CAIRO: In Egyptian politics, races are always among men. And if a woman competes, it would somehow be perceived as strange. Two women decided to break this norm and compete for candidacy with Al-Dostour Party: party Secretary of Organization Gamila Ismail and former party Secretary of Education and Culture Hala Shukrallah.
The two women share a lot of support from party members on a list called “A generation that draws a smile on the country’s face.” The list includes former party Secretary General Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar and former party Vice-President Ahmed Harara as well as the the party’s current Secretary General Ahmed Hafez and current Vice-President Badr el-Bendary.
Al-Dostour decided to set internal elections for party leadership on Feb. 7.
The electoral list of Gamila included Hany el-Gamal as secretary general and Yehia el-Gammal as treasurer of the political party. Gamila’s campaign slogan was “The one who builds will survive.”
Gamila was one of the party leaders who refused to resign and leave the party, as other leaders did, including the founder of the party, Mohamed ElBaradei. Youth of the party count on Gamila to renew things at the party and end a domination by elder incumbents in higher positions.
On the other hand, Hala Shukrallah’s electoral slogan is “An idea that unifies us.” The electoral list of Hala consists of Yaqout el-Senousy as secretary general, who is currently the party’s secretary at Beheira, and Mina Haleem as party treasurer.
Hala resigned earlier from leadership positions in the party, but changed her mind after many members asked her to run for elections. She is also popular among the youth of the party, with whom she joined a campaign called “The Four Adventurers,” which supported youth who wanted to be in party leadership positions.
The presence of a woman as president of an important political party in Egypt could change the political map of Egypt and build a larger role for women in politics.