A presidential spokesman has said that talks are continuing over the appointment of a new interim prime minister for Egypt, following earlier reports that opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei had been chosen.
Authorities said there were several options for the position and acknowledged that there had been strong opposition to the possible appointment of ElBaradei.
Earlier on Saturday, the Tamarod (rebellion) movement, which engineered mass protests culminating in the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday, had made the announcement of ElBaradei’s appointment after talks with Adly Mansour, Egypt’s new interim leader.
When initial news of the choice was leaked it was greeted with cheers outside Cairo’s Ittihadiya presidential palace, where opponents of Morsi, the country’s first freely elected president, frantically waved Egyptian flags and honked car horns.
Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros, reporting from Cairo, said that the view from the Egyptian people was that ElBaradei would bring about further divisions in the country.
Mohamad Elmasry, a professor at the American University of Cairo, told Al Jazeera it was possible the announcement had been made by state media to “gauge reaction” to the appointment.
“He is not a popular figure here, even though he is known to the West,” Elmasy said.
“He is not going to appease the pro-Morsi supporters, but revolutionary figures are also disappointed in him.”
Discussions over who should become prime minister came as the Muslim Brotherhood staged a new show of force in Cairo’s Nasr City district to demand that the military restore Morsi, after dozens of people died and hundreds more were injured in 24 hours of violence.
Also on Saturday, the presidential spokesman said the Muslim Brotherhood would be able to take part in new elections.
“We extend our hand to everyone, everyone is a part of this nation,” Mansour’s spokesman Ahmed al-Muslamani told reporters.
“The Muslim Brotherhood has plenty of opportunities to run for all elections including the coming presidential elections or the ones to follow.”
‘Rejection and anger’
Al Jazeera’s Jamal Elshayyal, reporting from Nasr City, said the reaction from the Morsi’s camp when it was thought the appointment was confirmed was one of rejection and anger.
Elshayyal said: “One of the protesters here said that the appointment of ElBaradei is a move directed at appeasing the United States and that he served them well, allowing for the invasion of Iraq when he was in the IAEA and will now be their puppet again – we all know he is a puppet.
“Another person said that ElBaradei was even too scared to nominate himself in the elections. That’s how little support he has – he needed the army to put him in office. So to sum up the mood here: it is rejection, anger and dismissal.”
Egypt’s second largest Islamist group, which had initially backed a military-led political roadmap to guide the country to new elections, opposed the nomination of ElBaradei, a party official said.
There are reports that strong opposition from the Salafist party may have lead to the reconsideration of the appointment.
The Al Nour Party’s deputy leader Ahmed Khalil told the state news website Al-Ahram that the party would withdraw from the political transition process if ElBaradei was confirmed in his post.
“The nomination of ElBaradei violates the roadmap that the political and national powers had agreed on with General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi,” he told Al-Ahram, referring to the chief of the armed forces.