An Egyptian court has dissolved the former ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) and ordered its funds and property to be handed over to the government.
The Higher Administrative Court issued the order on Saturday, meeting one of the key demands of the protest movement that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak in February.
“The administrative court issued a ruling to dissolve the NDP and seize its money, and its headquarters and buildings will be handed to the government,” a judicial source said.
Lawyers had raised a suit demanding the party’s dissolution, accusing it of corruption.
The NDP dominated Egyptian politics since it was set up by Mubarak’s predecessor, Anwar el-Sadat, in 1978.
Much of its senior leadership is now behind bars on suspicion of embezzlement.
Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, reporting from Cairo, said that to the protesters the NDP symbolises people who had misused their excessive powers.
However, she said there had been efforts recently to rebrand the party: “The new secretary-general is Talat el-Sadat, an outspoken opposition figure and nephew of Anwar el-Sadat.
“There’s a statement coming out from the new figures in the party which is now to be called the New National Party. What they’re saying is that they’re going to rid the party of corrupt officials and that there were some honest people who would run as independents but had no other choice but to join the party because of the situation in the country.”
The move to dissolve NDP was the latest concession by Egypt’s military rulers to demands of the protest movement, coming days after Mubarak and his sons were put under detention for investigation on allegations of corruption and involvement in the killing of protesters.
Protesters had suspected that the party could have become a powerful contender in the first post-Mubarak parliament elections due in September.
The party’s headquarters were torched during the protests that led Mubarak to step down, and its supporters were blamed for attacking pro-democracy demonstrations.