CAIRO: An emergency general assembly meeting will be held Friday morning at the headquarters of Al-Ghad opposition party in downtown Cairo to elect a new president via secret ballot.
Party founder Ayman Nour will compete with the party’s high committee member and assistant president Yasser Abdel-Hamid over the post.
“We hope that the elections will be transparent and put an end to the long struggle between the state and the party,” Nour told Daily News Egypt.
On Wednesday, a state council court rejected a lawsuit filed by Hisham Farag Awad, a party member in Alexandria branch, to prevent Nour from running for the polls.
Awad claimed that the call for holding a general assembly to elect a president violated the internal bylaws of the party founded by Nour in 2004.
A power struggle broke out within the part after Nour’s imprisonment in 2005 when he was stripped of the leadership.
In 2007, a ruling from Cairo Southern Court recognized Moussa Moustafa Moussa, a founding member who had been fired by Nour, as the party’s legitimate leader.
The court called on the political parties committee of the Shoura Council (the Upper-House of the Parliament) to take the necessary measures towards implementing the ruling.
The committee responded via a decree issued later that it only recognized Moussa as the Ghad’s sole chairman.
Nour’s camp contested the decision in the Administrative Court on the grounds that the committee had no legal authority to pass such decrees.
Nour’s constituency submitted to the court the latest notice which was sent to the committee informing it that Ehab El-Kholy, a Nour supporter, was elected as the Ghad president during a general assembly meeting.
In November 2008, a clash erupted between the supporters of the rival Ghad factions, resulting in a fire destroying about 60 percent of the party’s premises.
Nour won a lawsuit against the Ministry of Interior after he accused it of complicity and not taking the necessary security masseurs to handle the incident.
The court ordered the ministry to pay the party LE 200,000 in compensation for the damages. But he appealed the verdict to obtain a higher compensation.
In 2009, the court ruled in favor of El-Kholy, recognizing him as the party leader.
However, the political parties committee did not carry out the verdict, which was soon contested by Moussa before the Supreme Administrative Court.
In July 2010, the Supreme Administrative Court accepted an appeal by the political parties committee and Ghad Party’s president Moussa Mostafa Moussa on a previous ruling that obliged them to recognize El-Kholy as head of the party.
The court, however, also rejected a lawsuit filed by Moussa to recognize him as the president, leaving the party with no leader.
Nour does not rule out the possibility of clashes during Friday’s elections like the case in 2008.
“I expect anything to happen … with a tyrannical regime that is not ashamed of committing any act,” Nour said.
“We have informed the Kasr El-Nil police station of the electoral procedures … and we’ll wait and see what is going to happen,” he added.
Nour was the first runner up in the first multi-candidate presidential race back in 2005.
However, a few months after the elections, Nour was sentenced to a five-year term for allegedly forging powers of attorney required to start his new party, charges which he claimed were politically motivated. Nour was released in February 2009 on medical grounds.
Even though he is legally banned from practicing any political activity for five years after he completes his sentence, Nour recently announced his intention to run for president in 2011.
“I do practice my political rights and I will take all the necessary legal measures for this purpose,” Nour argued.