In interviews with international and domestic news outlets Al-Dostour Party leader Mohamed ElBaradei has raised the spectre of civil war as a reaction to President Mohamed Morsy’s recent constitutional declaration.
“Not even the pharaohs had so much authority, to say nothing of his predecessor Hosni Mubarak,” ElBaradei told German newspaper Der Spiegel. “This is a catastrophe, it a mockery of the revolution that brought him to power.”
In the same interview ElBaradei warned that “a civil war threatens to erupt in Egypt.”
ElBaradei has always spoken out against the consolation of power, first under Mubarak, then under the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, and now under Morsy. However, it seems that the most recent declaration has impressed a sense of urgency upon the former diplomat and Nobel Prize winner.
ElBaradei told Reuters, “there is no room for dialogue when a dictator imposes the most oppressive, abhorrent measures.”
“ElBaradei knows very well that Dr Morsy is not a dictator,” said Alaa Abu Nasr, the Secretary-General of the Building and Development Party. “[ElBaradei knows Morsy’s] declaration is temporary until we have a constitution and the parliamentary elections.
Abu Nasr continued to say that the measures are to protect the policitical process against the Constitutional Court. Abu Nasr said the Constituional Court is polticised and was planning to dissolve the Shura Council.
“Dr Morsy [already] had the legislative authority in his hands,” Abu Nasr pointed out. “He wanted to bring back the People’s Assembly, but the Constitutional Court prevented it. That shows that he didn’t want to hold all the power in his hands.”
ElBaradei told the Associated Press that he hoped spiralling violence could be avoided, but doubted that was possible without Morsy’s full withdrawal of his declaration.
Discussing methods with Reuters, ElBaradei said, “we will have to continue to escalate our level of expressing resistance, peaceful disobedience.” He then philosophised that Egyptians still seek a saviour-leader instead of working to build a broad coalition government to achieve of consensus, equality and order.
ElBaradei gave an in-depth interview to Al-Masry al-Youm newspaper on Sunday. In the interview he explained the events that followed Morsy’s Thursday declaration. He said discussions immediately began with many different public figures and it was quickly agreed that differences needed to be set aside to confront this new challenge. Seventy people met at the Wafd Party headquarters and agreed that they would not even talk with Morsy until he repealed his declaration.
Addressing theories that the United States had given approval, tacit or otherwise, for Morsy’s declaration, ElBaradei said he did not believe this to be true. He believes the west will push back against what ElBaradei says is an affront to democratic principles.
“In general,” Abu Nasr said, making sure not to mention ElBaradei by name, “whoever gets used to living in filthy swamps cannot live in a clean environment and whoever gets used to the US and the west feeding them, will always bow down to the west. However, after the 25 January Revolution we will not bow down to anyone. Whoever wants to bow down to the US can leave Egypt. Now the masks have dropped. Whoever doubted that those who call on the west and America to intervene in our affairs are agents, it is now obvious to see that they are agents for the west.”
Ramia Azab, ElBaradei’s personal spokesperson, said the ElBaradei camp was not specifically seeking to bring an international audience to the present debate in Egypt. Instead she said that ElBaradei was granting interviews to all major news organisations that were requesting them of him.
Additional reporting by Sarah Al-Masry