Al-Ghad: 20 Years of the Struggle

Al-Ghad: 20 Years of the Struggle

  1. Do you know Al-Ghad?
  2. When did it start?

The Al-Ghad (Tomorrow) Movement emerged from the bosom of Wafd, the only liberal party of the time in the fall of 2000, after the death of its historical leader Fouad Serageddin in August 2000.

  • How did it start?

Before the wave of political movements started, such as Kifaya in 2004 and the April 6 Youth Movement in 2008, Al-Ghad started as a movement. The Al-Ghad Movement declared its establishment under the roof of the parliament. The founder of the movement put forward the vision of Al-Ghad as a liberal reformist movement in a concrete way by publishing a 500-page statement in response to the statement of the Atef Obeid Government. It has gained a large place in political life in Egypt for 20 years since its establishment.

  • Why did we turn into a party?

After Mubarak’s 20-year rule between 1981 and 2001, the old traditional parties in political life, and particularly party life were under the control of the regime and its organizations. Many of them were destroyed and isolated from the street. From these traditional structures, new, modern, more capable and more effective movements had begun to emerge. The Al-Karama Movement project came out of the Nasserist Party (Arab Democratic Nasserist Party); the Al-Wasat Party project emerged from the Muslim Brotherhood; and various left movements were born from Al-Tajammu.

This is why the liberal movement wanted the youth to renew and contribute to the shaping of new political life.

  • How did the party outgrow?

In 2001, we submitted the documents about the Liberal Al-Ghad Party, but were rejected by the Party Affairs Commission. We then filed a süit against the Council of State. We also resubmitted our documents in 2002 under the name of Al-Ghad Al-Masri Party, containing a broader version of the first party program, and as a new party with new founders. The commission denied this as well. Although it had not yet decided on the first case, we applied at the Council of State again.

الأمن يحاصر مجلس الدولة ويمنع الصحفيين من متابعة القضايا

In 2003, we presented our documents again with a new program and the new founders, called the Democratic Al-Ghad Party. The commission denied this too. Again, although we had to wait for a decision on our previous cases, we applied to the judiciary again. The State Commissioners Board issued reports and gave an advisory opinion for the acceptance of the lawsuits we filed against the Party Affairs Commission’s rejection decisions.

This legal struggle continued for years. Finally, in 2004, when we applied for the establishment of the Al-Ghad Party for the last time, in October 2004 we announced the founding of the party from the home of Great Leader Saad Zaghloul in Cairo.

  1. Why was the regime disturbed by the appearance of Al-Ghad?

The establishment of Al-Ghad in the autumn of 2004 was the biggest and most important event in Egyptian political life. It was an effective and serious development that attracted attention in the Arab world and international public opinion, and shocked the regime. Many former ministers, ambassadors, well-known media members, artists and ambassadors of world states participated in the first congress of the party held in the Conference Hall.

  • How did Al-Ghad become the leader of the opposition?

When Mohammed Farid Hassanein, the founder and deputy of Al-Ghad Party, ran for parliamentary elections, Party founder Dr. Ayman Nour’s receiving 187 votes led to an earthquake in political life and caused Mubarak to threaten to dissolve the parliament.

In face of this support and solidarity of the MPs, it was natural for a large number of independent MPs and politicians to join the party as soon as it was established, and thus it was able to assume the leadership of the opposition as the second largest bloc of the parliament after the ruling National Party. As a matter of fact, after some members of parliament resigned from the Wafd Party, the Wafd bloc shrank and all of them joined the Al-Ghad bloc in the parliament. Chief among these were journalist deputy Mahmoud al-Shadhili, deputy Sayf Mahmoud, deputy Abdulfattah al-Shafii, deputy Mohammed Farid Hassanein and others.

  • What is the story of Al-Ghad’s First 100 Days?

Before the Al-Ghad Party reached its first 100 days, the judicial system made its decision on Al-Ghad, recognizing the danger of the party and its enormous power to spread and influence, because as a new born party, it was not mild-mannered, calm or bargaining. As a condition of its participation in the national dialogue talks, Al-Ghad pledged for a constitutional amendment that establishes to choose the president by election instead of a referendum, prior to the presidential elections in 2005, by election. It also requested Mubarak to attend the talks personally, and stated that if al-Sharif and al-Shazili represent the National Party, then it would send the secretary general of the Al-Ghad Party.

  • Why was the party leader arrested?

When the conditions for participation in Al-Ghad’s national dialogue talks reached Mubarak – one of these conditions was Mubarak’s personal participation in the talks -, Mubarak told Kemal al-Shazili: “I will attend the talks, but he (Ayman Nour) will not be able to participate!”

Indeed, on January 20, 2005, the instructions were given regarding the arrest of Dr. Ayman Nour, Chairman of the Al-Ghad Party. And with a comedy staged on Friday, January 21, the official security services took action and arrested the party leader inside the parliament. That day was to be known as the “black day” in parliamentary history.

  • How did Al-Ghad run for the presidential election?

The first issue of Al-Ghad Newspaper announced the party’s decision that its leader would enter the first presidential elections in Egyptian history. However, at that time the party leader was in custody. The newspaper published the message of the party leader, who was behind the iron bars of Mubarak and announced that he would enter the first presidential elections after the amendment of Article 76 of the constitution.

  • Who competed with Mubarak? Who supported him?

On September 7, the first presidential race in Egyptian history started. It was the second anniversary of the Al-Ghad Party, which was the symbol of the Egyptians’ hope for change, and it became the focus of the world. Although there were eight other candidates, the 40-year-old young candidate of the Al-Ghad Party competed against the 77-year-old Mubarak. However, the real rivalry was between the regime and Al-Ghad. The Wafd candidate on the other hand, withdrew from his candidacy to support Mubarak and began to attack the candidate of Al-Ghad, who went back and forth between courts and congresses, knocked on the doors of the Egyptians and won their hearts with honesty. In the 2005 elections, Al-Ghad’s slogan of “hope and change” became reality, and the hope of the youth was identified with the name Al-Ghad. In this way he managed to gain the trust of the Egyptians despite the manipulations in the elections that Al-Ghad completed in the second place after Mubarak, his party and his state.

  • How was the regime’s reaction to the election results?
  • Days after the presidential elections, Mubarak not only arrested the party leader, Dr Ayman Nour, but also launched a campaign of arrests and intimidations against the leading names of the party. In order to prevent the publication of the Al-Ghad Newspaper, under chief-editor Ibrahim Issa, he arranged cooperation with some elements, who had defected to the National Security Agency and who then inflicted the party and caused internal conflicts. In spite of these, the party continued to fight for the freedom of its leader, who was imprisoned for five years, and thus managed to maintain its true leadership. It was clear; Al-Ghad struggled for life and death, and it defended itself against all forms of crimes against itself, including the imprisonment of Al-Ghad’s true leaders, heroes and members, and the arson attack against its headquarters.

  • What was Al-Ghad like before the revolution?
  • Al-Ghad was a pre-revolutionary revolution. It formed a challenging movement. When the demonstrations began on April 6, 2008, 80% of those arrested on that day were Al-Ghad members, including Isra Abdulfettah, Engineer Ahmed Mahir, Shadi al-Adl, and 80 others were from among the Al-Ghad party and its leaders.

After the party leader’s four and a half years of detention came to an end, Al-Ghad joined the efforts to unite the opposition forces through a call (Egypt Campaign against Dynasty) from its headquarters, in October 2009.

The campaign later evolved into the National Association for Change, in which Al-Ghad was significantly involved. Al-Ghad then called for the restructuring of the parliament. Al-Ghad’s headquarters literally became the center of parliament. Mubarak said about it in his last speech before the revolution, “Let them have fun”.

On January 21, 2011, Al-Ghad initiated the call “Get out of the Parliament Building”, which was the first spark of the revolution, in which the Al-Ghad Party participated from the very first moment. It took its place at the center of the revolution stage with its members, its leaders and its historical struggle.

  • Why did Al-Ghad transform into Ghad Al-Thawra?

In the aftermath of the revolution, despite the role Al-Ghad played at every stage (beginning, during, and after) of the revolution, Al-Ghad did not apply at the military council for the restoration of its rights which were deprived and violated by the Mubarak regime. The most important one of these rights was the return of the Al-Ghad party and its newspaper… Later, the leaders of the party applied for the establishment of a new party called Ghad Al-Thawra. The establishment of the party was approved as it met the legal conditions. It also ordered the reduction of the fine imposed by the military council on the indicted charges in the so-called Al-Ghad power of attorney case.

  1. Is Ghad Al-Thawra allied with the Muslim Brotherhood?

The Ghad Al-Thawra Party entered the presidential elections after the candidacy of the party leader, but the military council rejected the candidacy of Dr Ayman Nour, as well as other prominent names such as Omar Suleiman, Hayrat al-Shati, Hazim Abu Ismail. Therefore, the party was the rival of the Muslim Brotherhood at the beginning of the 2012 presidential elections. In the second round of the elections, between Dr. Mohammed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq, Al-Ghad supported the candidate, who was closest to the revolution.

  • In the general elections, Ghad Al-Thawra responded positively to Wafd’s request to join the National Alliance for Egypt, but when Wafd left the alliance following the instructions of the military council, Ghad Al-Thawra did not return from its decision and continued its presence in the alliance. Therefore, before the revolution, it could win less than a quarter of the number of seats it acquired in 2000!
  • The relationship of Ghad Al-Thawra with the Muslim Brotherhood has been within the framework of its constant support to the establishment of national reconciliation unity with different segments of the society.
  1. Why did Ghad Al-Thawra refuse to form a government?
  2. Ghad Al-Thawra was not formally asked to form the government. However; President Dr. Muhammed Mursi exchanged views with the Chairman of the Ghad Al-Thawra Party on the possibility of being appointed to form a transitional government in April 2013. At that time he met with many parties and leaders, most of them refused to participate in the formation of the transitional government. This group supported the June 30 call.
  1. Did Ghad Al-Thawra join the Liberation Front?

When the constitutional declaration was announced in November 2012, Ghad Al-Thawra opposed this declaration and requested its correction. Ghad Al-Thawra members met with the Front for the first time at the headquarters of the Wafd Party upon the call of Mr. Amr Musa. On December 6, 2012, the party attended the presidential meeting with many political leaders. This meeting lasted for about 12 hours and resulted in the decision to annul the constitutional declaration and make changes on it. Ghad Al-Thawra approved this decision and notified these changes to the Liberation Front. It also requested the dissolution of the Front due to the cancellation of the declaration, which is the reason for its existence. However, most of the participants in the second meeting did not accept Ghad Al-Thawra’s suggestion, upon which the Party announced its withdrawal from the Front.

  1. What is Ghad Al-Thawra’s attitude towards the declaration dated 03/07/2013?
  2. Ghad Al-Thawra took a stand against this statement from the very beginning, stating that it was a coup against an elected president. Ghad Al-Thawra denied all the conclusions of the declaration and condemned the bloody events that took place, especially the Rabia massacre. The party leader declared this attitude of most leaders and members of the party and left the country. It has continued its existence abroad from 2013 up to the present by waging a struggle in politics, media and law.
  3. Due to the open attitude of the party leader, no other declaration or statement was published within the party. This caused the party to be subjected to arbitrary pressures and practices, the Ghad Al-Thawra headquarters were raided and their belongings thrown out.

Likewise, many party members were arrested, a travel ban was imposed, and even after seven years in compulsory exile, the party leader’s passport was not renewed until now, and his return to the country was prevented.

  1. What does the suspension of the party’s domestic activities mean?

The party had to make this difficult decision for the following seven reasons:

1- The achievements that should be found in a real party life have been reduced to the lowest level.

2- All movements, communities, freedom of expression and public communication rights were restricted.

3- Along with the party deputies, many mail and femail members were exposed to prolonged arrests – which are still ongoing.

4- Security organizations took over the parties and started to intervene in all their affairs.

5- The term of office of the current party chairman and party supreme board has expired and it has become impossible to hold a general congress where party members can come together.

6- Local parliamentary elections were not held, parliamentary lobbies turned into incubation rooms for poultry, no real legislative or supervisory role was left, members of parliament were elected by adverse election from among state organizations.

7- Party leaders at home and abroad wanted to protect their party base and their youth; they did not want them to face the risk of conflict with this police state, which has no tolerance for dissent, non-governmental organizations and trade unions.

  • For these seven reasons stated above, the leaders of the domestic party came together and decided by majority vote to cease the domestic party activities and member acceptance, and to continue the political, party and media activities of the party members abroad without any participation and responsibility of the domestic members.
  • It was emphasized that the decision to suspend domestic activities and the admission of members does not mean the dissolution of the party, and that the party has a legal and juristic personality. Therefore, suspending or stopping the political activities of the party does not necessarily mean its termination or closure. In the past, in 1978, the Wafd Party made a similar suspension decision, protesting the government’s failure to provide a suitable environment for party life, and in 1984 the party decided to resume its activities.

  1. How does the Ghad Al-Thawra Party operate abroad?
  2. Perhaps for the first time, an official party announced that it is moving its activities abroad. However modern history will know, admit and even praise the individual and collective efforts of national leaders (from abroad) to bring about change in the country.
  3. Great Leader Mustafa Kamil, the founder of the past National Party, and his comrade Mohammed Farid understood the situation in Egypt and managed to play a political role despite having spent most of their lives abroad. Again, Great Leader Saad Zaghloul and his comrades were able to lead the revolution while in exile. There are many more role models living in the Third World countries, who continued their struggles against those who deprived them of their homelands, who got embroiled in all kinds of scandals and conducted crimes for this purpose, and who strived to silence opposing voices. There has not been any other struggle against tyranny, and for reformation, change, progress and advancement, other than their struggles.

Within this context, we emphasize the following seven facts and principles:

First: The party’s work abroad is temporary, it is not an alternative to domestic work; moreover it supports domestic activities that cannot be conducted at the moment.

Second: The party’s work abroad has no connection with any particular state or states. It extends to all the countries of the world where Egyptian citizens live, dreaming of a better tomorrow for their homeland and striving for this.

Third: Opening the door of membership and voluntary participation is not limited to members of Ghad Al-Thawra abroad. On the contrary, the doors of Ghad Al-Thawra are open to all Egyptians who believe in a civil state and citizenship rights, share Ghad Al-Thawra’s liberal democratic vision, have no organizational belonging to any other organization or political group, and have consensual, civil and independent views.

Fourth: We are not – and will not be – a virtual party. We are not just a portable banner. The party will constitute its leadership bodies (supreme council), as well as the party chairmanship consisting of the chairman, five representatives and five deputies, the party secretary consisting of the party secretary and ten deputies, the regional committees in all countries where it operates, and the specialized committees (shadow government).

Fifth: The party retains the value of geographical diversity – abroad – the representation of women, youth, minorities and all partners of the homeland. The party will announce the participation of 100 civilian Egyptian figures in Ghad Al-Thawra and its new supreme council and will keep its doors open at all times.

Sixth: The Ghad Al-Thawra Party is not a front where various factions can join. On the contrary, membership takes place within the framework of the Party’s rules, principles, programs, vision of the future, and in particular the 2021 vision of Egypt, which is currently being updated and will be promoted domestically and abroad (in print and electronic). It is a political party attended by partners from the liberal, civilian and compromise segments.

Seventh: Abroad Ghad Al-Thawra confirms that it continues to comply with all national documents and all regional partnerships signed; it is always working on national integrity, and it has been struggling to return the achievements of our glorious revolution even after 10 years since the first wave began.

In the above pages, we answered 20 questions about the history and struggle of Al-Ghad and Ghad Al-Thawra.

For 20 years,

Al-Ghad has been a dream of freedom, a hope for change and a breath of fresh air.

The diverting campaigns have never contaminated it,

No dictator’s tyranny was able to discourage it,

No tyrant’s despotism frightened it,

20 years, have passed with imprisonment, detentions and deportations,

Our assets have been confiscated, our freedoms have been stolen,

Our headquarters have been burned down!

But we are coming with our dreams…

Even if others gave up!

 The beginning comes at the end.

You also have to answer the following seven questions:

Q1- What do you know about Al-Ghad?

Q2- Did you know who we are?

Q3- How much do we love our country?

Q4- What is the price of this love?

Q5- Don’t you want to share your dream of a better tomorrow for our revolution in the new decade?

Q6- When your country needs you more than ever, how do you hesitate or wait?

Q7- If you are not going to do it now, when will you do it?!

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