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Ziad Al-Eleimi

Egyptian Eelections Watch (Ahram Online and Jadaliyya) , Sunday 4 Dec 2011
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Ziad Al-Eleimi is a founding member of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party. He is also a lawyer, human rights activist, founding, and leading member of the Revolution’s Youth Coalition (RYC).

Before the Revolution

Al-Eleimi’s involvement in politics began early in his life, being the son of Ekram Yousef, a prominent student activist in the politically turbulent 1970s. Thus, by his teenage years, Al-Eleimi was already involved in social and political struggle.

During his law school years, Al-Eleimi was closely engaged in student activism and joined the Egyptian Popular Committee in Solidarity with the Palestinian Intifada, an Egyptian movement formed in 2000 in solidarity with the second Palestinian Intifada.

After graduatingin 2002, Al-Eleimi started his own law practice, cooperating with NGOs involved in fighting human rights abuses and sexual harassment, including Al-Nadeem Center, the Hisham Mubarak Law Center and the New Woman Foundation.

Al-Eleimi moved into the spotlight as a leading member of the Mohamed ElBaradei’s Campaign for Change, which sought to gather public support for democratic reforms in 2010. Al-Eleimi was often seen by the side of ElBaradei, the former IAEA chief who offered himself as a potential alternative to then-incumbent President Hosni Mubarak.

While ElBaradei continued to prepare for a presidential bid after the January 25 Revolution, Al-Eleimi became active in newly formed parties and movements.

Before the revolution, Al-Eleimi was one of the leading figures involved in Al-Bosla, a group formed in 2005 to with the goal of shaping emerging democratic liberation movements in Egypt.

Al-Eleimi and other members of Al-Bosla joined theEgyptian Social Democratic Party since its creation in 2011, one of the country's most influential left-of-center parties.

Al-Eleimi was one of many who organized the 25 Januaryprotests, not knowing at the time that they would ultimately lead to the downfall of the Mubarak regime. Before that, Al-Eleimi was active in organizing protests against police brutality and sectarian strife.

The Revolution and Beyond

As a leading member of the Revolution’s Youth Coalition (RYC), Al-Eleimi was closely engaged in organizing protests during the January 25 Revolution.

The RYC was formed during the early stages of last winter’s eighteen-day uprising and included representatives of the ElBaradei Campaign for Change, the April 6 movement, the Democratic Front Youth, the Muslim Brotherhood Youth and others.

In addition to being one its leading members, Al-Eleimi was the RYC’s official spokesperson. The RYC's first slogan was “no turning back before Mubarak’s departure.” The alliance set up camp in Tahrir Square, continuing to coordinate the sit-in until Mubarak’s resignation was announced on 11 February.

The RYC has since been vocal on political issues and continues to participate in major demonstrations and sit-ins. Al-Eleimi's continued involvement in the RYC speaks to his belief in the power of “street politics.” According to Al-Eleimi, the RYC drives its power directly from the street. He says that it is only through popular pressure that the ruling military council alters its policies in response to public demands. For Al-Eleimi, revolutionary activism is the most legitimate political force in Egypt today.

Al-Eleimi is an outspoken critic of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). The RYC had announced last April that would suspend dialogue with the SCAF in April following a violent crackdown by the army on Tahrir Square protesters.

While Revolution’s Youth Council is a member of the Revolution Continues electoral coalition, as a member of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, Al-Eleimi is contesting the 2011 parliamentary elections through the Egyptian Bloc, a rival electoral coalition. Al-Eleimi is running on the top of the Bloc’s list in South Cairo’s district of Al-Moqattam, where he participated in social work for the past four years.

Fact Box

Born: 1980

Political Orientation: Social democrat

Occupation: Lawyer

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