ElBaradei ‘willing’ to head Egypt’s cabinet

Former UN nuclear watchdog chief says he is willing to drop presidential bid for interim prime minister post.

Mohamed ElBaradei, Egyptian presidential hopeful and leading political figure in the country, has said he will drop his bid to be head of state, if the country’s military rulers allow him to become the interim prime minister, his office said.

ElBaradei, who met the head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces on Saturday, said he was “ready to renounce the idea of being a candidate in the presidential election if officially asked to form a cabinet”.

Protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square demanding that the army step down from power have repeatedly proposed ElBaradei – a former UN nuclear watchdog chief – to lead the transition to democratic rule.

ElBaradei said he was “willing to respond to the demands of the youth of the revolution and the political forces calling for a national salvation government that represents all the national forces”.

His statement comes amid political upheaval, with anti-military rallies threatening to eclipse Monday’s parliamentary elections, the first since former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February.

Demonstrators have vowed not to leave Tahrir Square until the generals step down in favour of a civilian presidential council.

Violence erupted when protesters marched to the parliament and cabinet buildings on Saturday, to demonstrate against the appointment of Kamal el-Ganzouri as prime minister.

Witnesses say Ahmed Sayed Sorour, a demonstrator, was run over by a police vehicle.

The interior ministry expressed regret for the death of Sorour and said it was an accident. However, the ministry also said the protesters were partially to blame for throwing Molotov cocktails at the armed police vehicles.

Call for protests

Political activists have called for another mass protest on Sunday to express their rejection of the military’s appointment of Ganzouri, who served as Mubarak’s prime minister.

They also want the trial of those found responsible for the deaths of at least 42 people since clashes broke out on November 19 in a week of deadly confrontations between protesters and police, and a complete overhaul of the interior ministry.

More than 3,200 have been wounded across Egypt in the latest turmoil.

Egypt’s military rulers met separately with Mohamed ElBaradei and Amr Moussa, the state news agency reported. Following the meetings both issued a statement stressing the Egypt’s elections should be held on time.

Two days of voting from Monday will take place in the main cities of Cairo and Alexandria as well as Fayum, Luxor, Port Said, Damietta, Kafr el-Sheikh and the Red Sea province.

Other cities and regions follow on December 14 and January 3.

The military has rejected calls to immediately step down, saying its claim to power is supported by the warm welcome given to troops who took over the streets from the discredited police early in the anti-Mubarak uprising as well as an overwhelming endorsement for constitutional amendments they proposed in a March referendum.

A survey of voter trust in the military, conducted for Al Jazeera by Vote Compass, showed a sharp decline since the country erupted into protest in January, but also suggested that many Egyptians still believe the army is a source of stability.

Critics say the army has resorted to the repressive methods of the Mubarak regime, jailing dissidents and unleashing deadly violence on protesters.

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies


More from News
Most Read