CAIRO: Outgoing IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei has set a number of conditions for his mooted presidential candidacy, including international monitoring of elections as well as amendments to Egypt’s constitution.
In a statement obtained by local newspapers, ElBaradei said that he would consider running for the 2011 presidential elections but there had to be guarantees regarding the electoral process itself.
These guarantees were international monitoring of the elections, complete judicial oversight and the presentation of a new constitution safeguarding liberties and human rights.
“If I decide to run for this esteemed position – something I have never sought – it will be because the majority of the Egyptian people will see it as serving the interests of the country, ElBaradei said in the statement.
He also called for the removal of all “constitutional and legal impediments that limit the majority of people from being candidates, so that there can be a fair and real chance for everybody away from party and personal considerations.
ElBaradei was alluding to Article 76 of the Egyptian constitution, which was amended in 2007 and governs the eligibility of presidential candidates.
The article stipulates that a candidate must have been on the governing council of his political party for at least one year prior to the election, and that the party must have been in existence for at least five years.
Additionally, any presidential hopeful must secure a total of 250 signatures from both legislative houses – the People’s Assembly and Shoura Council – and local councils to become an official candidate. Members of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) however are the majority in both houses.
Under this article, ElBaradei is not eligible to run for the 2011 unless he joins one of Egypt’s political parties that fit the requisite criteria, as well as being able to secure the necessary 250 signatures.
ElBaradei told CNN last November that he would consider running in 2011 if he had “written guarantees that it would be a “free and fair election.
His potential candidacy has elicited a wide range of responses from opposition parties in Egypt, with some welcoming it – to the point of inviting him to join their ranks – and others opposed to him running completely.
Head of the Arab Socialist Party Waheed Al-Aqsari told Daily News Egypt last month, “With all due respect to him we don’t accept his candidacy because he is an academic and lived abroad for a long time so he is far removed from the pain and suffering of the Egyptian people.
Saad Aboud of the Karama party told Daily News Egypt at the time, “The 250 signatures required by Article 76 means an independent cannot run unless there is an agreement from the NDP, so there is a practical impossibility unless the constitution is changed. If the NDP do agree then he would merely be a candidate for décor and ElBaradei is bigger than this.
ElBaradei, the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize winner, ended his 12-year stint as the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Friday last week.