January 14, 2012 by staff
Elbaradei Egyptian, Egypt’s reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei said Saturday he is pulling out of the country’s presidential race to protest the military’s failure to put the country on the path to democracy.
The 69-year-old Nobel laureate, who has been seen as a driving force behind the movement that forced former President Hosni Mubarak to step down, said in a statement that the conditions for a fair presidential election are not in place.
ElBaradei said the military rulers who took over from Mubarak have governed “as if no revolution took place and no regime has fallen.”
His decision to pull out of the race just days before the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 25 uprising reflects the dilemma in which Egypt’s revolutionary movement finds itself — caught between a military that they say is trying to hold on to power, and a newly-elected parliament dominated by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood which revolutionaries fear will give the generals what they want and radicalize society.
The military rulers have said they will transfer power after presidential elections, to be held before the end of June. But many expect a fierce struggle over the military’s future privileges.
ElBaradei, who said he intends to work with youth groups from outside the system to push for democracy and social justice, echoed fears that the military would not give up power to future elected rulers.
“I reviewed the best ways to serve the goals of the revolution in light of this reality, and I found none within the official framework, including (running for) the presidency,” he said.
“I had said from the start that my conscience will not allow me to run for president or any official position unless there is a real democratic framework, that upholds the essence of democracy and not only its form.”
ElBaradei has grown critical of the military rulers management of the transition, at times saying it was “royally” mishandled. He had said he tried to advise them but grew impatient with what many said were the generals’ desire to monopolize decision making and focus on maintaining their interests.
Popular presidential candidate Amr Moussa said he hoped ElBaradei would continue his efforts to rebuild Egypt.
“I regret ElBaradei’s withdrawal from the race, and I value his role and participation in the developments that Egypt has witnessed recently,” Moussa said on his Twitter account.
The Muslim Brotherhood, whose associated political party looks poised to take more than 40 percent of the seats in the next parliament, has also indicated that it might not field a candidate.
But with the largest share of parliamentary seats, the Brotherhood is set to dominate the process by which a committee that will be entrusted with the writing of the country’s new constitution is picked — a situation that some liberals and youth groups fear will produce a bargain in which the army continues to control the executive power, but allows conservative Islamists to control the writing of the constitution.
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