El-Baradei reportedly gets bids from Egyptian parties to run for presidency

El-Baradei reportedly gets bids from Egyptian parties to run for presidency

Will Moussa succeed Egypt’s Mubarak?

 Arab League chief and former Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa did not rule out running for the country’s presidency which is likely to fuel local and international speculation in the media about who could succeed President Hosni Mubarak  with the 2011 presidential election nearing.

Mubarak 81 who ruled the country since 1981 did not state whether  he will enter  the next presidential election, however, the  media has speculated that the political situation in Egypt points to  his son Gamal’s bequeathing of power despite denials.  

Moussa, 73 popular with many Egyptians and Arabs for his criticism of both Israel and U.S. Middle East policies, said in an interview with Egypt’s independent Al-Shorouk newspaper on Tuesday October 20 “It is the right of all citizens enjoying the ability and competency to aspire to a position and participate in serving the homeland, including the prestigious position of president of the republic”. He continued the rights and obligations of all citizens “hold true for me, for you and also for Gamal Mubarak.”

Regarding allegations by the press, media and websites about his running for presidency Moussa answered: “The confidence expressed by several citizens when they talk about my nomination makes me very proud, and I consider it a message that has without doubt reached me.”

“But taking a decision on this issue requires several considerations…and it is still too early to make any decisions on this matter,”

 Moussa’s chief of staff, Hesham Youssef, confirmed that the quotes published by Shorouk were accurate.

“The next leader could also be Mubarak’s 45 year old son, Gamal Mubarak”. Moussa said.

Moussa has won the admiration of many ordinary Arabs for his stand on issues such as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and Iraq, notably warning Washington it would open the “gates of hell” if the 2003 invasion of Iraq went ahead.

 Potential candidates:

Moussa’s comments, albeit vague, will add to speculation as to Egypt’s forthcoming president where the most prominent figures are the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei, Omar Suleiman, Director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Services (EGIS), Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and Minister of Defense and Military Production, and Zakaria Abdel Aziz, Chairman of the Judges’ Club. 

 In its edition on Tuesday, Oct, 20, 2009 Los Angeles Times predicted ElBaradei as a possible contender for the 2011 presidential elections but The Al Wafd party and the Free Constitutional have invited  him to lead their organizations which would make him eligible for the national ballot. The recent constitutional amendments that took place in 2005 over the Egyptian constitution requires that a presidential candidate be head of a political party, if he is to be legible to run as an independent candidate, needs the approval of 65 members of the People’s Assembly (the first chamber of parliament) and 25 members of the Shura Council (second chamber of parliament) and receive state permission after collecting approval from at least 140 municipal councils in ten provinces. For an independent candidate this is a completely impossible mission, which is precisely why the ruling National Democratic Party supports it. 

The Al Wafd party and the Free Constitutional party have both revealed that they are awaiting ElBaradei final word before they start the necessary procedures.

 “The 67-year-old ElBaradei gained popularity across the Arab world in general and Egypt in particular because of his rightful political attitudes in the international arena, especially when he opposed the U.S. led invasion of Iraq in 2003. He is against a military attack on Iran’s nuclear program, and previously said that Israel’s nuclear weapons make it the number 1 threat to the Middle East, two opinions that make anyone a hero among most Egyptians”, LA agency said.

The newspaper concluded its article, “ElBaradei may not have a notable presence in Egypt’s politics, but his polished status of a Nobel prize winner and a former IAEA director has made some believe that he would do well.

Omar Suleiman, the country’s Chief of Intelligence, is another name which has emerged as a possible contender to succeed Mubarak for the top job in the past few years and Mubarak’s confidante as he belongs to the military, and is chief of intelligence who is familiar with all the secrets and subtleties of information. He was nominated by political forces in their websites to be the next president and has formulated different sites with the motto “No to Gamal, no to the Brotherhood, only Omar Suleiman.”

 “Omar Suleiman is not entitled according to the prerequisites to run for presidency to be the ruling National Democratic Party candidate because he is not a member of the Supreme National Party which elects its candidates and it is very hard to imagine that he nominates himself as an independent candidate, in this event it is unlikely, that Omar Suleiman would vie with another candidate belonging to the ruling party”, Egyptian political observers noted.

While analysts say the most likely scenario is that Gamal Mubarak will take over, they say it is not a certainty, partly because he may not have enough influence. Unlike the three former presidents since 1952, he does not have a military background.

Political analysts say the rules governing the presidential race make it almost impossible for the ruling party’s candidate to face a serious challenger.

Prominent opposition leader and Mubarak’s main rival in the 2005 race, Ayman Nour, launched a campaign this month called “Knocking on Doors” aimed at blocking any succession by the president’s son.