Nour sees moderate Egypt picking liberalism

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Egypt will pick liberalism over Islamism but a legislative election in September may produce a parliament of conservative forces, said politician Ayman Nour, who ran against former president Hosni Mubarak in 2005.

Nour plans to run for president in an election due after the legislative polls, but he must first overturn a conviction for forgery in a 2005 case seen as politically-driven retribution for his challenge to Mubarak. He was in prison for three years.

Speaking to Reuters in an interview late on Monday, Nour said the public prosecutor had issued a decision allowing a review of the case.
“I believe that Egyptians are moderate and find liberalism to be the future of the state,” Nour said. “We are committed to our principles of liberalism. We are not ideologists neither do we aspire to form a religious or military state,” he said.

Mubarak, who was swept from power on February 11 by a mass uprising, handed power to a military council, which said on Monday that the legislative election would be held in September.

A presidential election will follow at a date as yet unknown, completing the transition back to civilian rule.

Mubarak’s treatment of Nour typified his administration’s approach to most of the opposition. Apart from jailing Nour, the authorities installed Mubarak loyalists in the leadership of his political party, The Ghad (Tomorrow Party).

Political parties are trying to regroup to prepare for the legislative election. Its timing seems to suit best the well-organised Muslim Brotherhood and remnants of Mubarak’s National Democratic Party (NDP).

The Brotherhood, an Islamist group founded in 1928, was banned but allowed to operate within limits during Mubarak’s era. It plans to contest the legislative elections under the banner of a new political party, but will not seek a majority.

Nour said he feared the September election date would not give nascent groups enough time to organise.
“This poses a real threat that the next parliament will be a clone of older parliaments that were limited to the NDP and the Brotherhood,” Nour said. “This does not benefit the civil forces or liberal parties and is against the revolution’s cause.”



In planning to run for the presidency, Nour joins other public figures including Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, former U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei and Hisham al-Bastawisy, a prominent judge.