CAIRO: The return of former International Atomic Energy Agency director Mohamed ElBaradei to Cairo has sparked a variety of foreign press reactions, ranging from praise to skepticism.
Referring to a “grassroots effort. to draft Dr. ElBaradei to run in the presidential election in 2011 despite Egyptian laws constraining opposition politics, the New York Times, praised ElBaradei’s variety of support.
“The broad nature of Dr. ElBaradei’s appeal – as an outsider. with no ties to a political system widely seen as ineffective and corrupt – was on display at the airport [upon ElBaradei’s Cairo arrival], the New York Times said in an article. “Those who gathered. included people who said they had never been involved in politics, prominent actors and writers, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and leading members of groups calling for democratic change.
The Guardian, a United Kingdom-based newspaper, also commented on the crowd welcoming ElBaradei.
“More than 1,000 supporters converged on Cairo International airport to greet the 67-year-old [ElBaradei], the Guardian reported. “Waving flags and banners and singing patriotic songs under the watchful eye of the security services – who had warned protesters to stay away – the crowd called on ElBaradei to declare his candidacy for head of state.
However, the Guardian seemed unconvinced ElBaradei will actually run for president.
“[This] is the latest chapter in the remarkable story of a man with, at present, no political party, no official candidacy, and a stated desire to do little more on his homecoming than to spend some relaxation time with his family, the Guardian wrote.
The paper commented on ElBaradei’s “apparent ambivalence over the role being thrust upon him and noted several recent amendments to the Egyptian constitution make it exceedingly difficult for ElBaradei to get his name on a presidential ballot.
ElBaradei said last month he would not run unless a free and fair election was assured.
“I don’t want to be president of Egypt! he told Foreign Policy, an American newsmagazine, in a January interview. “You can understand that after having this thankless job [at the IAEA] for 12 years that I want to have some time to do other things that I like to do, including spending time with my family.
Laying out the requirements under which he would consider a run, ElBaradei said, “I would not even consider running for president unless there is the proper framework for a free and fair election. I don t believe the conditions are in place.
Foreign Policy was skeptical of ElBaradei’s chances, should he mount a campaign.
“The odds are overwhelmingly against ElBaradei wresting power from the hands of the Mubaraks, Foreign Policy said in an article on ElBaradei’s Cairo return. “The Egyptian police have no shortage of tools to wield against ElBaradei should he move ahead with his campaign.
Foreign Policy concluded there is almost no chance ElBaradei’s desired election reforms will be realized.
“Given the abject state of the Egyptian opposition movement, any kind of legislative or constitutional victory is highly unlikely, the article said.