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Monday, February 14, 2011

ElBaradei not likely to be next Egyptian President

As recently as two weeks ago, he was seen as a likely successor to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, but now Mohamed ElBaradei isn't even in the ballpark in the polls. ElBaradei may yet become a prominent voice in the post-Mubarak era.
When asked by an Austrian newspaper this month if he would consider leading Egypt, he said: "Naturally I want to play a part in the future, but who stands in the election, that's really not so important at the moment. But if the people want it, of course I would be available."

Right now, despite his eloquent appearances on satellite television, or perhaps because of them, he lacks resonance at home.

"His role as a leader for change in Egypt is over," said Hassan Nafaa, former coordinator for ElBaradei's National Front for Change. "He had the historic opportunity to represent real reforms, but his frequent travels abroad cost him credibility. He didn't seize the moment, and now it's a youth rebellion forcing the change ElBaradei was supposed to bring."

In a presidential straw poll conducted last week by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 3% of Egyptians supported ElBaradei. That's two percentage points better than opposition leader Ayman Nour, but well below the 26% for Amr Moussa, a former Egyptian foreign minister who topped the list. Moussa quit his post as secretary-general of the Arab League on Friday to begin what is widely seen as a campaign for president.

"I don't think ElBaradei was ever convinced deep within himself that he was the man to lead the change," said one opposition leader who spoke on condition of anonymity. "It became a forced marriage between him, the people and the opposition."
Moussa may yet make us long for ElBaradei. His popularity in Egypt is driven by his hostility to the United States and Israel.

What could go wrong?

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At 7:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The man in the mirror thought that ElBaradei was a natural but that only added up to two. Meanwhile, the military hopefully remember they actually lost in 73 as well as 67 and 56 and 48 and only achieved a standoff in 70.


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