Mohamed ElBaradei back in political limelight
The former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is tipped to head an interim government under Adly Mansour
Mohamed ElBaradei: has criticised successive rulers of Egypt, from Hosni Mubarak and the generals who replaced him to the now ousted Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi.
He has no army pedigree, lived in the West for decades and has criticised successive rulers of Egypt, from Hosni Mubarak and the generals who replaced him to the now ousted Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi.
Now, more than two years after the anti-Mubarak rebellion, Mohamed ElBaradei (71) is the designated negotiator for the opposition forces that clamoured for the army to remove Mr Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government.
Military, political and diplomatic sources tipped him as favourite to head an interim government under Adly Mansour, a senior judge sworn in yesterday as Egypt’s acting president.
Mr ElBaradei met Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday and was present when the armed forces commander announced that Mr Morsi was no longer president and suspended the constitution.
“ElBaradei is our first choice,” a source close to the army said. “He’s an international figure, popular with young people and believes in a democracy that would include all political forces. He is also popular among some Islamist groups.”
The source was referring to some members of the Nour party, an ultra-orthodox Salafi group that has been both an ally and a rival of Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Political sources said Mr ElBaradei, who won the Nobel peace prize for his work as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, would also be acceptable to western powers that have studiously avoided calling Mr Morsi’s removal a military coup.
Other contenders include former prime minister Kamal Ganzouri and former central bank governor Farouk el-Okdah.
Mr ElBaradei said yesterday the army’s roadmap, under which a panel for national reconciliation will be set up and the constitution will be reviewed before parliamentary and presidential elections, would “continue the revolution” of 2011.
He entered Egypt’s political stage in 2010, stirring up decades of calcified politics under Mr Mubarak by saying he might run for president in 2011 if a fair vote was guaranteed.
Many of his countrymen admired his pluck in challenging Mr Mubarak, who for decades rigged elections, but otherwise found it hard to identify with the bespectacled, soft- spoken United Nations diplomat who had spent so long abroad.
Mr Mubarak’s allies painted Mr ElBaradei, a defender of human rights and social freedoms, as a “foreign agent”. The opposing Islamist camp dismissed him as “too liberal” for Egypt. – (Reuters)