• February 26, 2010

ElBaradei changing the system?

ElBaradei changing the system?

 Mohamed ElBaradei said the former nuclear watchdog chief is stirring the political pot in Cairo amid presidential rumors.

Throngs of supporters defied government warnings last week to welcome ElBaradei, who led the International Atomic Energy Agency from 1997 to 2009, to his native Cairo.

His return was met with rumors that ElBaradei, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, would challenge ailing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 elections.

ElBaradei upon his return formed a “change” association. It was separate from a political party, however, as politics are monitored heavily in Cairo.

Opposition supporters of the former IAEA chief said the mere mention of a possible presidential bid is changing politics in Egypt, Egypt’s Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper reports Thursday.

“What’s important is that ElBaradei has embarrassed the regime domestically and internationally for not allowing independents to run in elections,” said Amr Rabie with the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.

Independents were banned from seeking the presidency in 2005 as the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood took 20 percent of the seats in Parliament running as independent candidates.

ElBaradei, who has not formally announced a decision, said he would run only as an independent.

Opponents said politics in Cairo are larger than ElBaradei’s ambitions, however.