Mohamen ElBaradei Launches New Egyptian party

Published April 29th, 2012 - 08:22 GMT

The leading Egyptian reformist Mohamed ElBaradei Saturday launched a new political party, which aims, according to him, to unify the Egyptian revolution and save the country from the complex transition to democracy.

The Constitution Party marked a return to public life for Mr. ElBaradei, who said in January that he would not run for the presidency and a fair vote is impossible during the troubled transition. His withdrawal four months before the presidential election was a blow to the leftist and liberal groups behind the riots of 25 January which led to the fall of Hosni Mubarak last year. These groups, many of whom had found in Mr. El-Baradei a rallying figure for their calls for democracy in Egypt, suffered a strong defeat at the polls during the first parliamentary elections after the fall of Mubarak.

Rather, the Islamist groups, including the influential Muslim Brotherhood and the ultraconservative Salafi groups were the big winners of these elections, capturing nearly 70 percent of the seats.

According to Mr. El-Baradei, a new political group was necessary to unite the Egyptians and prepare young people for a political future beyond the revolution.

Fourteen months after the departure of Mubarak, the generals who inherited the regency of power are involved in a power struggle with the Islamists. They dominate the Parliament but complain that the generals are the obstruction for transition into a civil rule. Several rival Islamists argue that the generals go beyond their powers.

Mr. ElBaradei said that his party, which is yet to be formally registered, attempts to represent a moderate Egypt, and should be ready for work in two to three months. The former head of the IAEA has often been blamed by his supporters for being too remote, and for his moderate approach to politics.

Meanwhile, the Salafist Call, an influential Egyptian Islamist movement, will support the moderate Islamist Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh during the presidential election on 23 and May 24, one of the founders of the movement has said.

"The Salafi Call decided by a majority to support Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh during the presidential election," said Yasser Borhami. "The Nour party, the political wing of the Salafist Call, also ruled in favor of Abul Fotouh," he added. Nour's party came second behind the Muslim Brotherhood in the parliamentary elections, with nearly a quarter of the votes.

The decision of the Salafist Call to support the candidacy of Aboul Fotouh follows the disqualification of the Salafist Hazem Abu Ismail, whose nomination was rejected by the electoral commission on the grounds that his mother had dual nationality (Egyptian and American), which is prohibited by the provisional constitutional document.

It is mostly a blow to the Muslim Brotherhood and the chances of their candidate, Mohamed Mursi, to win the election. Physician Abul Fotouh is himself a former member of the brotherhood, who was a leader of the reformist wing, before being expelled when he presented his candidacy.

Aboul Fotouh, who already has some support in liberal circles, particularly among young people who will not vote for Amr Moussa, former foreign minister of Hosni Mubarak, said last week he thought he could be elected in the first round. 

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