Nobel Peace Prize winner and former frontrunner Mohamed ElBaradei announced Saturday that he has withdrawn from Egypt’s presidential race.
Almost a year has passed since the military took power after former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power after the 'Arab Spring' uprisings last February. ElBaradei criticized the military council for ruling Egypt “as if no revolution took place and no regime has fallen.”
Agence France-Presse reports:
CAIRO — Ex-UN nuclear watchdog chief and Nobel peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei ended his candidacy for the Egyptian presidency on Saturday, saying he could not run because there is still no real democracy in the country.
"My conscience does not allow me to run for the presidency or any other official position unless there is real democracy," ElBaradei said in a statement received by AFP.
ElBaradei said there was no room for him in Egyptian politics because old symbols of the regime were still running the country and charged that preparations to draw a new constitution were "botched." [...]
He praised the revolutionary youths who led massive popular uprisings that ousted president Hosni Mubarak last year but said "the former regime did not fall."
"No decision was taken to purify state institutions, particularly state media and the judiciary, of symbols of the old regime," said ElBaradei.
He compared the revolution to a boat and charged that "the captains of the vessel ... are still treading old waters, as if the revolution did not take place."
The Los Angeles Times reports:
ElBaradei’s announcement Saturday is a strategic and emotional blow to young liberal and secular activists who had hoped the former head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency would lead the country toward democratic reform to replace the corrupt legacy of deposed President Hosni Mubarak.[...]
ElBaradei has been a frequent critic of the military, often posting Twitter missives against the generals for deadly crackdowns on protesters and smothering of dissent. When he returned to his native Egypt in 2010, after years of living abroad, ElBaradei led the National Front for Change and was viewed as a fresh, uncorrupted voice.
And from Ahram Online's headline "ElBaradei Withdrawal from Presidential Race Stirs Confusion Among Activists":
ElBaradei’s recent stances on the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has left many believing that his prospects of winning were low as it was unlikely the military would allow it. Tahrir protesters previously launched an initiative demanding the formation of a national salvation government led by ElBaradei and presidential hopeful Abd El-Monem Abu El-Fotouh, to manage Egypt’s transition period instead of SCAF. Ahmed Imam, one of the main initiators of the campaign, confirmed the belief that the military would not approve ElBaradei. Imam also confirmed that there is a chance the Muslim Brotherhood retreated from backing ElBaradei due to his position on SCAF, although he explained that until recently the group appeared to be in close contact with him.
ElBaradei has recently been outspoken about rights violations that characterised recent clashes between the military and protesters. He made several statements condemning SCAF’s role in guiding Egypt’s transition period. He also frequently condemned the use of violence by the police and the military as well as putting civilians before military trials.