Mustafa Al-Naggar

Egyptian Eelections Watch (Ahram Online and Jadaliyya) , Saturday 19 Nov 2011

Mustafa Al-Naggar

Mustafa Al-Naggar is former general coordinator of the campaign supporting presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei. After the January 25 Revolution, he helped form Al-Adl Party.

Al-Naggar also runs the popular blog, “I am with them,” and, since 2007, has been actively blogging about human rights and civil liberties in Egypt.

Born in Alexandria in 1980, Mustafa Al-Naggar has a Bachelor’s Degree in dentistry and mass communication from Cairo University and the American University in Cairo (AUC), respectively.

Al-Naggar hails from a family sympathetic with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB) movement, and his grandfather, Kamal Abdel Tawab, was a leading MB figure. Al-Naggar himself became a member of the MB’s youth wing, although he eventually left it in 2005.

“After 2005 parliamentary polls, in which the MB won eighty-eight seats in the People’s Assembly, I withdrew from the group because I no longer identified with its platform and ideology,” Al-Naggar told Jadaliyya/Ahram Online.

Since then, he has embraced a more “centrist” approach to Egyptian politics that would eventually become the basis for his Al-Adl Party.

Before the Revolution

Al-Naggar has played an active role in Mohamed ElBaradei’s National Association for Change (NAC) reform movement. The Association is a coalition of opposition figures and groups formed in 2010 to demand democratic reforms as well as free and fair presidential election in which independent candidates that were not handpicked by the Mubarak regime could run.

Al-Naggar’s online human rights advocacy earned him an honorary award from the UNHCR in Beirut in 2010. He also served as coordinator for the Arab Journalists and Bloggers Network for Human Rights.

The Revolution and Beyond

Al-Naggar actively participated in Egypt’s January 25 Revolution and was present for the eighteen-day Tahrir Square sit-in that ultimately led to Mubarak’s ouster. He was among the first of the young revolutionaries to call on the Egyptian people to focus on upcoming elections with a view to preparing the public for the looming electoral contests.

He went on to co-found Al-Adl (“Justice”) Party, which seeks to carve for itself a centrist position in Egypt’s post-revolution political landscape away from the ideological spats dividing secular and Islamist trends. Al-Adl Party claims it does not adhere to any particular ideology and has tried unsuccessfully to forge an electoral alliance called the “Third Way.”

Al-Naggar stirredcontroversy within Al-Adl after he agreed to a highly contentious statement prepared by the ruling military council, along with thirteen other parties. The document implicitly upheld the extension of Egypt’s emergency law, although it offered parties some concessions related to election laws.Al-Naggar subsequently retracted his endorsement of the statement.

Although the 2011/2012 elections will be the first time for Al-Naggar to run in parliamentary polls, he is no stranger to electoral campaigning, since he served as coordinator for ElBaradei’s presidential campaign. Al-Naggar will run in Cairo’s Nasr City district for an individual seat on behalf of Al-Adl.

Although many observers see Al-Adl Party as one of the best funded of the newly formed liberal-leaning parties, Al-Naggar told Jadaliyya/ Ahram Online that his electoral campaign would nevertheless rely heavily on volunteer contributions. “The little money we have will not sustain our campaign against the tycoons who are running in Nasr City,” he said.

Fact Box

Born: 1980

Political Orientation: “Centrist,” a former MB member

Occupation: Human rights advocat

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