ElBaradei Could Run for President of Egypt
His stepping up in the national political scene was very well received in his country as he is seen by a lot of people as the one who takes over after the elections scheduled for the end of 2011.
Many Egyptians consider that ElBaradei is the person capable of bringing the largest Arab nation to democratic life, after three decades of authoritarian rule of Hosni Mubarak.
ElBaradei says he didn’t return to his country to lead, but to help. But since thousands of Egyptians are already gathering behind him to support his project, ElBaradei said he was ready to lead only if he can count on the people. It looks like finding supporters and setting up a party to participate in the elections won’t be a problem, since his personality attracts so many.
A principle ElBaradei cares about is organizing free elections. If the elections next year are not free or biased in any way, ElBaradei will not participate in them. Elections held in undemocratic conditions create pre premises for illegitimacy of the leadership. And that is something ElBaradei is not ready to offer the current regime, which is why he insists so much on the democratic frame of these elections. Otherwise, he doesn’t appreciate the idea of being the democratic face who participates in elections that had been won before they started, thus legitimating the old new regime run by Hosni Mubarak.
Hosni Mubarak has been the President of Egypt ever since the former President Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981 by Islamic militants. He had the large support of the international community, who saw in him a Western-friendly Arab leader and a partner in the dialogue on the complicated matters in the Middle East, especially since he has always kept a moderate stance in the Israeli case. In exchange for his cooperation, the democratic community turned a bind eye on the traspassings of human rights in Egypt, reported on various occasions, and on the authoritarian regime Mubarak was leading.
In 2005, he opened the country to multi-candidate election system, but he won without problems, thus maintaining a one-party system to the present day. That is the reason why ElBaradei said he didn’t want to justify and legitimate an authoritarian regime.
However, the 82-year President has a health condition that may impede him to run for president again.
Mohamed ElBaradei was born in Cairo, and worked in diplomacy in the ’60s. In 1980, he joined U.N., and became leader of IAEA in 1997. He handled very serious case files, Iran, Iraq, or North Korea.
In 2005, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for the efforts of the agency he runs to keep nuclear energy from being used for any other purposes than civilian ones.
ElBaradei ended his third term at the head of the IAEA in 2009, and was hoping for a quiet retirement. Still, it looks like he is going to get involved in the project of shaping the future of Egypt in the post-Mubarak era, though he considers that the level of expectation of the people could be the downfall of the whole project to change the regime, because most people think that one person can change the system, which is evidently not true.
His political platform is very simple: to change a system based on a pharaoh figure with a system based on institutions. Ambitious as this plan seems, it is very hard to make happen, which is why ElBaradei stands at a crossroad: whether he becomes the most charismatic Egyptian President of them all, or the Egyptian disappointment of all times.11