Baradei for president?

Baradei for president?

Members of Egypt’s opposition al-Wafd Party renewed their calls for Dr. Mohamed el-Baradei, the current head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to join the supreme body of the party in order to be nominated for the country’s 2011 presidential elections. The party confirmed their intention to put the idea to the party’s various committees in preparation for submission to the General Assembly of the party in late November.

Baradei has said he has not received any contact from the party in this regard.

Baradei said in an official statement from his office that he “did not receive any contacts from any political party,” adding that he was devoting his “attention now to the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency” and that he has yet to take any decision regarding his future, which will be determined in accordance with future developments.

In preparation for the presidential election of 2011, the Wafd Party has begun a media campaign to include the IAEA chief and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, whose term is set to end, to the upper echelons within the party after there were alleged rumors about the willingness of Baradei to nominate himself for Egypt’s second “open” election in two years.

Osama Bahrawy, Secretary of the Wafd Party in the al-Gharbiya governorate, argued that there was a trend among the leaders of the party in seeking to attract Baradei to join the supreme body of their party. This comes after a statement by Baradei saying that he “does not mind nominating himself for the Presidential election.”

Bahrawy considered it “a positive step that enables [the] Wafd party of trying in various ways and pressure in having Baradei among its ranks, to become the representative of the party in the upcoming presidential elections.”

Bahrawy stressed that these pressures would be put on El Baradei and would be through all media and Internet outlets, which would be followed by attempts to contact him personally, via al-Wafd party chief Mahmoud Abaza.

Baradei’s recent statements have given hints of his possible willingness to join the potential contendors for President and have been received by optimism and welcoming reactions from opposition movements, including Kefaya (Enough).

George Ishak, a prominent leader in Kefaya said that “the statement makes us give a chance for Baradei to think seriously about this decision until he can configure his own vision about Egypt’s future, in accordance to the program that he would present,” Ishaq begins, “thus, the Egyptian opposition will work, before the end of his term in [IAEA] office in November, on gathering the opinions of the opposition in Egypt about the character that will be agreed upon to nominate [persons] for the upcoming elections. In case they all reach a consensus on Baradei’s candidacy, they [the opposition] would send a delegation of opposition movements to convince him of the nomination.”

Baradei said in a statement sent to media that his position on the Egyptian presidential elections in 2011 is yet to be discussed and thought through. He stressed that he has not given statements to anyone about his unwillingness, or willingness, to run for office, and that he has “not taken any decision yet regarding his future after the end of his term of office and that his decisions will be determined in light of the latest developments in the next phase.”

The rumors come as Egyptian opposition leaders met in Cairo on Wednesday to launch an anti-Gamal Mubarak campaign. They are demanding that Egypt not turn into a Syrian style government that sees the bequeathal of power from father to son.