CAIRO: Former Ghad party leader Ayman Nour revealed that his name has been struck off by the Lawyers Syndicate on Monday.
Nour was speaking at a seminar held at Cairo s Center for Socialist Studies on the future of change in Egypt, and received the news shortly before the seminar began.
“The Lawyers Syndicate’s temporary board has removed my name from the Syndicate; they think it s not my right to work, Nour told the seminar.
“It s not a surprise because this morning I read in Rose El-Youssef newspaper that I wasn t going to be allowed to take part in some Syndicate conference because I have been struck off. Rose El-Youssef is a very credible newspaper which always knows what the syndicate, and the government and the whole of Egypt is going to do in advance.
Nour was recently released from prison for medical reasons three month before he was due to complete a sentence handed down to him for forgery charges, which many commentators had said were politically motivated.
During the seminar Nour discussed the challenges facing the liberal movement in Egypt.
“Many of the Ghad party’s ideas have been misappropriated by the ruling regime which has taken liberal slogans and concepts and applied them in the typically counterfeit way in which it applies everything. These concepts have been corrupted or twisted as a result, Nour explained.
“Liberalism in Egypt has an identity crisis. There is a group within the ruling party which calls itself liberal, and foreign newspapers describe Gamal Mubarak as a liberal reformer. I don’t understand what this version of liberalism means when it supports the state of emergency, doesn’t object to trials in exceptional courts, accepts the state’s monopoly of power and has absolutely no vision of freedom.
Nour went on to consider the changes made to the Egyptian Constitution in 2005.
“Despite amendments to the Constitution in 2005 and 2007 there remains a need for discussion about a genuine, elected body which will put in place a modern constitution granting Egyptians the right to choose who rules and represents them.
“The changes made [in 2005] were a real disaster. We should apologize to ourselves and to our grandchildren for demanding changes because the constitution was better before the amendments .
Discussing the Ghad party’s vision of change, Nour concentrated on its ‘Third Way’ policies which he put forward as the best solution to Egypt’s social and economic problems.
“The Ghad party had a different vision of liberal economic thought in 2004 because it adopted Third Way ideas which formed the basis of its 2004 political platform, he said.
“We have another challenge in 2009 – that of reformulating these ideas once again in order to affirm this social vision and treat the symptoms of the current economic crisis.
Nour then returned to his expulsion from the Lawyers’ Syndicate.
“I don’t understand how the regime, which constantly violates rights and freedoms, which doesn’t acknowledge the existence of others can describe itself as liberal. . Matters have reached the point where a war is being waged against my right to work. I’m a law graduate, that’s my profession. I don’t understand how they can justify doing this.
He linked the expulsion to the six-year ban he is currently under as a result of his imprisonment which prevents him pursuing political activity saying. “My moral compensation which will be granted in six years time is conditional on me proving that I have established myself, and am able to support myself – that I have an income.
He nonetheless remained defiant.
“We refuse a closed choice between terrorism and oppression. The sum of Egypt is not merely that, it is not merely Hosni Mubarak or Ayman Nour or any of you here. But change won’t happen without our getting rid of the disaster which has been in place for 28 long, terrible years.